In one corner of Afghanistan, civilians risk attacks by the Taliban and Daesh, killings by Afghan army units, and US drone strikes.

Entering the road leading Into Jalalabad city from the Jalalabad - Kabul highway, the first intersection you hit is Do Saraka, which leads through Sorkhrod, Khogyani and Sherzad districts all the way to Tora Bora.

The road is now mostly paved after many years of work and offers a beautiful view of farmlands and rural Nangarhar. However, the route is one of the most dangerous in Afghanistan and is littered with IEDs placed in advance for government officials, local strongmen, and other unsuspecting anti-Daesh or anti-Taliban adversaries. 

The road is also well known for hosting spies from Daesh and the Taliban and others working for government intelligence.

"You're at the edge of the world,"  one boy jokingly said as he scurried by us upon arrival at a frontier bazaar, after which no one was willing to take us any further. When asked what he meant, 14-year-old Waleed said "crossing this line means a certain death".

“It's not just Daesh and Taliban over there, it's also the government - the 02 [the Afghan Army’s NDS02 Unit] and drones,” he explained.

Many of the survivors can be found in a beautiful but extremely volatile market that sells colourful fabrics and women's clothing - the marketplace is right at the edge of an area the locals consider relatively safe. 

Haji Mumtaz, 65, from Zawa village, is one of those who fled the fighting in Khogyani district less than a month ago and now lives in a Madrasa near Chamtala Bazaar

"My cousin Haji Aslam Khan and his son Jumah Khan were watering their crops when they were hit by a drone. There are at least seven or eight other cases just like this that happened in Zawa,” he said. 

Haji Mumtaz lost relatives in a drone attack (Muhammad Sadat)
Haji Mumtaz lost relatives in a drone attack (Muhammad Sadat) (TRTWorld)

"There were about 1,000 homes and almost everyone has fled. Those who had relatives in Jalalabad went there, others went to Sorkhrod or nearby Sheikh Masri Camp. Those who couldn't afford to leave are stuck inside the fighting and drone attacks." 

In recent days, weeks and months as many as 9,000 families have fled the fighting in Nangarhar according to Attuallah Khogyani, Spokesperson for Nangarhar Governor Shah Mahmood Miakhel.

Many others who couldn't afford to live in the city have opted to live under the airstrikes and others stay right on the cusp of the "end of the world". 

Bashir Mohammed, 38 years old and now unemployed, also fled Zawa and now resides around Chamtala Bazaar. 

‘They had nothing to do with the fighting’

Visibly distraught, Mohammed told TRT World that his cousins were just killed in an NDS 02 unit raid. 

"It [the government raid] happened last week on July Sunday night, it was around 11 at night so everyone was asleep. The government conducted a raid and martyred innocent people - they were my cousins. One was Noor Rahman and the other was Mujeeb Rahman they were both between 30 and 35 years old. One was a shopkeeper and the other was just a farmer. Everyone in the area knows them and the shop. They had nothing to do with the fighting."

It has been four days since Mohammed joined the hundreds if not thousands of internally displaced people who have fled Khogyani and Sherzad districts. All complained that the government was doing nothing to support them, nor had anyone from the government come to follow up on the raids that have killed many civilians in recent days and months. 

"The raids and drone strikes have been happening for years. There used to be one or two every few months or so, but now they are so constant that we've all been forced to leave - there's hardly any locals who have stayed behind," Mohammed said.

Although the fighting between Daesh and the Taliban has been raging for years, locals from Khogyani and Sherzad blame the government for wanton killings and abandonment. 

Bashir Mohammed fled fighting in his native village of Zawa (Muhammad Sadat)
Bashir Mohammed fled fighting in his native village of Zawa (Muhammad Sadat) (TRTWorld)

"Nobody has come to check on us and none of the government has mentioned a thing. These men were killed in their sleep by the government and they don't even bother finding out who exactly was killed," said Mohammed 

Speaking with TRT World in a phone interview, Miakhel said: "We are doing everything we can to stop civilian casualties, including in these raids. Mistakes have been made but we are working hard on ending the killings, but this is an ongoing war and people are being killed. Just last week militants attacked a bus of civilians with a sticky bomb."

Mohammed does not buy the government line. 

"If the government cared about us, then why haven't we heard from them? Where's our support? We've been forced into homelessness due to their campaigns and there's been no action taken by the government," he said.

Mohsin Zaman Khan also contributed to this report

Source: TRT World