LONDON: BBC study has revealed that Taliban fighters are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan. The research shows the powerful rise in Taliban threatened areas after foreign combat troops left in 2014, however, Afghan authority acclaimed that it controls most areas.
The recent led Taliban attacks that killed scores in Kabul and the other place made Afghan officials and Donald Trump say not to share any stage with Taliban group for talks.
To build a picture of all militant attacks over the time, network of BBC reporters talked to as many as 1200 individuals in 399 districts of the country, and the conversation with the individual was either face to face or by the phone, as many as six sources were used for the conversation and it is not easy to gather accurate and reliable data on the conflict which has been getting harder since foreign combat troops pulled out.
The results revealed that 15 million people (half the population in the country) are living in areas that are either held by the Taliban or where the Taliban are openly present and regularly attack from there.
Areas that are now under Taliban’s control include Helmand province like Sangin, Musa Qala and Nad-e Ali where foreign troops fought and died (including 450 British troops who died in Helmand between 2001 and 2014) in order to bring these areas under government control.
Such is the fear in the Taliban controlled areas that people feel that they may not be returning back to home alive.
“When I leave home, I’m uncertain whether I will come back alive,” said Sardar in Shindand, a western district that suffers attacks repeatedly.
BBC reports reveal IS militants are undoubtfully more active in Afghanistan than ever before, but it is less powerful than Taliban.
Taliban are now in full control of 14 districts (that is 4% of the country) and have an active presence in further 263 (66%), significantly more than previous estimates of Taliban strength and in these areas Taliban militants conduct frequent attacks on Afghan government moments, that also includes military bases and police checkpoints.
Another local Amruddin who lives in Baharak district of Badakhshan province told BBC, “We live in constant fear. Whenever the government side starts fighting with the Taliban, we are caught in the crossfire, bringing life to a standstill. It is quiet at the moment but the Taliban are still here.”
However, BBC study found 122 districts did not have an open Taliban presence, they are under government control, but that does not mean they were free of violence, Kabul is an example that suffered recent attacks from adjacent areas, or by sleeper cells
The militants which are present in open areas force farmers, local businesses, and even commercial goods convoy to pay the tax while still leaving it to the administration to pay the bill for basic charges.
“They are charging people for the electricity that we supply!” one chief of a southern district reported.
The BBC’s assessments have been reexamined by the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network, which has been reporting on Afghanistan since 2009.
Kate Clark, Co-Director said: “Such a well-researched investigation into the Afghan war is rare and very welcome. The findings are shocking, but unfortunately not surprising.”