Afghanistan’s Helmand province may fall to Taliban

Deputy governor of Afghan province of Helmand warns it may fall in the hands of Taliban

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand at an outpost in Helmand province, December 20, 2015

Deputy governor of the volatile Afghan province of Helmand warned that it could fall to the Taliban after months of heavy fighting, with 90 members of security forces being killed over the past two days.

Mohammad Jan Rasulyar, the deputy governor of the southern province said unless Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani took urgent action, Helmand, which is a centre for opium production and a Taliban heartland that British and American troops struggled to control for years, would be lost.

"Your Excellency, Helmand is standing on the brink and there is a serious need for you to come," Rasulyar wrote on Facebook.

Helmand has been the scene of battles between insurgents and security forces over the last six months. Security forces stationed in Helmand have complained of being abandoned by their US-backed government.

"We don't provide food and ammunition to our forces on time, do not evacuate our wounded and martyred soldiers from the battle field, and foreign forces only watch the situation from their bases and don't provide support," Rasulyar wrote.

The Facebook post is considered highly unusual, and paints a striking resemblance to the situation that led up to the fall of the northern city of Kunduz in late September of 2015, which Taliban fighters seized and held on to for several days before government troops regained control of it again in December.

Afghan army spokesman Mohammad Rasool Zazai said he had no comment on Facebook about the post, but said Helmand would “never collapse”.

Police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said,"We have strong forces in Helmand. In some places, we leave areas for tactical reasons, but all forces are working together well and very soon we will have major achievements to report."

Helmand’s probable loss may draw scrutiny to the abilities of the Afghan government to control insurgencies without foreign military help.

Ghani's government is backed by billions of dollars in international aid and training assistance from thousands of NATO troops still stationed in Afghanistan, the government is also pushing to re-open talks with the Taliban insurgency.

TRTWorld and agencies