Hundreds more take up arms as clashes intensify

KABUL (Tolo News): As clashes continue and intensify, hundreds more have taken up arms against the Taliban in support of the government forces, this time in Herat, Patkia, Ghor and Kunduz provinces. Those who took up arms said they will not allow their villages to fall to the Taliban who they claim would damage the country’s infrastructure.
So far, hundreds of people have taken up arms against the Taliban in Takhar, Balkh, Badghis, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Laghman, Jawzjan, Samangan and Kapisa provinces. People in over 10 districts have taken up arms against the Taliban in just a week following the back-to-back fall of dozens of districts to the group.
Sources said that, five districts fell to the Taliban – including Sayed Abad and Chak-e-Wardak in Maidan Wardak, Rustaq in Takhar, Arghistan in Kandahar and Shortepa in Balkh. During this period, the government forces have had some progress but have not reported recapturing any district. “Paktia residents pledge to the government and the security agencies that we are with you,” said Abdul Mallik Zazai, head of the provincial council in Paktia.
Some residents of Enjil district in Herat who have taken up arms warned the Taliban to quit violence or they will face resistance from the people. “We pledge to the people that we will defend the country until the last drop of our blood,” Farid Ahmad, a public uprising force member.
In Ghor and Kunduz as well, people say they have been left with no option but to take up arms to fight the Taliban. “We will suppress the Taliban wherever they are. We will always support our security forces,” said Abdul Rahman, a Ghor resident who has taken up arms. “We prevented the enemy from advancing. And we are supporting the government,” said Khalid, a Kunduz resident who has taken up arms.
Some politicians said that arming the people is a serious need given the current situation and they welcome this move, but they expressed their concerns about its consequences if the forces are not managed well. “Those who lead these forces should be responsible so that when the fighting is over they will not create any problems for Afghanistan,” said Asadullah Saadati, the deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
The Presidential Palace said recent moves in the last few weeks are in favor of the Republic. “The people of Afghanistan, by supporting the security and defense forces and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, joined the united umbrella of the Republic,” presidential spokesman Latif Mahmoud said. The Ministry of Defense assured that the activities of the public forces will be well managed.
“The mobilization of the people in support of the security and defense forces has had a considerable role in retaking territories, especially in the north, and has prevented the fall of some areas,” Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said. The Taliban called those who have taken up arms “Arbakis” and warned that they will not be forgiven.