News - Afghanistan
MPs raised concerns Sunday that previously secure areas have been transformed into battle zones while areas once considered to be the frontline of the war are now fairly safe.
An example of this are the ongoing battles by security force members against insurgents in the north. Up until recently, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Faryab and Badghis provinces were fairly secure but that has changed since the launch of the Taliban's spring offensive, say MPs.
"Although Faryab province was insecure in the past years, it was never as bad as this. Insecurities in Badakhshan, Kunduz and other provinces especially Faryab has increased since the start of spring operations," said Haji Hashem, an MP from Faryab.
"A number of anti-government armed groups that used to be in the other provinces have come here. There are also foreign terrorists who used to be in northern Waziristan areas [in Pakistan] but have now come to these parts of the country," he said.
However, Afghan Minister of Interior Nooluhaq Olomi on Sunday denied claims that insurgents were carving out a north-bound corridor for their war efforts. Addressing a press conference, Olomi said the insurgents moved to the north and are being forced to fight in order to survive.
"A large number of insurgents that used to be in southern Afghanistan have now moved to the north. They have come with their families and are trying to use the resources that they have and [are trying to] create terror and violence in order to survive," he said.
But some MPs believe that these insurgents have opened up a new corridor into the northern provinces – a corridor from Waziristan. They blame government for having been careless.
"The insecurities in the north are due to two problems - one is that the enemy is destabilizing secure areas in the north with the help of Daesh in order to have a bigger presence along the borders of central Asian countries, and secondly, it is because government cannot agree on who can defend the country [as minister of defense]," said Mirdad Nejrabi, an MP and chairman of the Wolesi Jirga's domestic security commission.
Meanwhile, the deputy spokesman for the ministry of defense Dawlat Waziri said that although insurgents are fighting in larger groups this year, they have been unable to gain a foothold in Afghanistan.
"If the goal of insurgents is to create a foothold, they will never be successful, because there is no area in Afghanistan where ANSF cannot access. But we have witnessed such areas in other countries like Pakistan, that have areas like Waziristan," said Waziri.
Analysts believe that the rise in insecurity in the country is because of two things – an increase in the number of insurgents and government's failure to appoint a minister of defense and governors of over 30 provinces.