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Taliban forces dozens of families out of their homes in Panjshir’s Shotul district

Local sources in northern Panjshir province have said that dozens of families were forcibly displaced from four villages in the province’s Shotul district as a result of heightened conflict and Taliban threats.

Sources told KabulNow that residents of Roi Darah, Arzaba, Chashme Aab Astafalu, and Kahanda Ahmad Andur villages were forced to flee their homes during the summer of last year amid intense conflict between Taliban fighters and anti-Taliban resistance forces.

Most of these villagers took refuge in the neighboring Kabul and the Parwan province.

Some of these residents were forcibly displaced and left homeless as a result of consistent threats by local Taliban authorities, sources added.

“Taliban fighters would randomly beat villagers, demanding weapons and forcing them to provide food and water to their fighters,” a resident of Shotul told KabulNow.

However, another source added many villagers “refused” the Taliban’s call to return to their villages and restore livelihoods, citing insecurity and harsh life conditions under heavy Taliban presence.

A local villager told KabulNow on condition of anonymity that vital humanitarian aid had ceased to reach these affected villages because “all local residents fled their households.”

He noted that at least 50 families used to live in the Roi Darah village alone, while between 30 and 40 families resided in the three other villages.

Panjshir’s rocky hill Shotul district, with over 12,000 population mostly ethnic Tajiks, has been one of the frontlines in the conflict between Taliban fighters and forces of the anti-Taliban armed group, the National Resistance Front (NRF).

NRF was formed after the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 and led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud. The group has been engaged in a guerrilla war against the Taliban in the northern and northeastern provinces of Afghanistan. The group has mostly been active in Panjshir and neighboring provinces.

Conflict and violence have resulted in a significant number of displacements and compounding extreme life-saving and protection needs amid looming economic and humanitarian crises.

As of December 2022, nearly 6.6 million people were living in internal displacement across the country, two-thirds of them because of conflict.