Balkh residents say Taliban ‘destroyed homes’

KABUL (Tolo News): Residents in the newly retaken Kaldar district of Balkh in northern Afghanistan shared their experience under the Taliban in the past month, saying the Taliban torched their homes and used residents as human shields during the fighting with the Afghan security forces.
They said the civilian population paid a heavy price during the fighting between the two sides and their livestock and other belongings were lost. Tazarigh village, which is only 8 kilometers away from center of Kaldar district, saw some of the heaviest fighting between the security forces and the Taliban. People in the area say that their homes were destroyed.
Mohammad Nazar, one of the residents in the village, said: “Here it was our home. The Taliban, who are the slaves of Pakistan, came here and destroyed our homes, they planted mines here,” he said. Debris can be seen from a distance in Kaldar district. TOLOnews’ reporter Sayed Mohammad Aref Musvai, reporting from Kaldar, said that the Afghan security forces are still on red alert in the district to respond to possible threats by the Taliban. The security forces liberated Kaldar on Monday.
“The Taliban did not manage to hold out against us, we recaptured the district center in two hours,” said Ahmadullah, a member of the Afghan Special Forces. Businesses have reopened in the Kaldar district bazaar.
“Nothing was left here in the district, there is nothing left in the police headquarters and NDS headquarters, everything was transferred out by the Taliban,” said Mohammad Yousuf Ghulamzada, Kaldar district governor. Residents in Kaldar said that they suffered difficult days in the past month.
“When the airplanes were coming, they (Taliban) were dressing in women’s clothes and were sitting inside with the children, several children died,” said Mohammad Nazar, a resident in Tazarigh village of Kaldar district. Residents in Kaldar said that foreign fighters were also fighting against the Afghan forces along with the Taliban. “Based on the statistics that we gathered from the National Directorate of Security, foreign fighters were seen among them (Taliban), these foreigners included Chechens and Kazakh and their dead bodies were lying on the battlefield,” said Fazluddin Najamzada, the head of Balkh’s security department. The Taliban has denied these reports.