Ghazni protesters urge Taliban and gov’t forces to leave Arezu neighborhood
Dozens of Ghazni residents held a protest rally following Afghan defense and security forces set a new military base in Arezu neighborhood of the city. They called on the government forces and the Taliban to leave the area.
They held the rally to protest against establishing a new military base and several security outposts in Arezu neighborhood by government forces, Abul Bary Arezuyee, a local resident, told Kabul Now today, Sunday, May 16. He added that the neighborhood plunged into war ever since government forces established military bases and seven security outposts there earlier last year (1399 Solar Year).
As many as 150 locals have either been killed or wounded in crossfires between the Taliban and security forces or in their attacks, the local resident complained.
He added that more than 1,800 houses were destroyed and more than 2,000 families have been displaced as a result of the fighting between the warring parties in the neighborhood. Mr. Arezuyee reiterated that farmers of this neighborhood have not been able to collect their harvests since last year due to the war and fighting in the neighborhood.
“Now, we have decided to lose 55 lives in one day in order not to let our neighborhood become a battle ground between the two sides,” he noted, adding that they have also held several meetings with the Taliban urging them to leave the area but in vain.
He, meanwhile, confirmed that government forces have already accepted the demands of the protesters and are leaving the neighborhood.
Kabul Now, however, could not reach Ghazni’s local officials despite repeated attempts to have their comments in this regard.
Arezu neighborhood is located in suburbs of Ghazni city through which the High Way 02 – connecting Ghazni and Paktia provinces – passes. It has witnessed fierce fighting between the government forces and the Taliban in recent years. Previously, it was under the Taliban control from where the militants occasionally launched attacks on Ghazni city.
The Taliban have intensified their attacks on military bases in this neighborhood in recent days.
Earlier in May, the militants overran a military base in the area killing two army forces and wounding two others. Moreover, the militants took at least 20 others soldiers as hostages.
Five days later, another military base also fell to the Taliban in the vicinity of Arezu neighborhood. Local sources confirmed that several army soldiers were killed or wounded in the Taliban attack.
On the other hand, three young men were killed and three others wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Khwaja Omari district of the province. Ahmad Zia Yaqubi, district governor of Khwaja Omari, told Kabul Now that the incident took place last night, May 15, Dehnehal village of the district.
He added that the landmine was planted by the Taliban militants.