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Dozens Reported Killed As Heavy Fighting Continues Between Afghan Forces And Taliban In Kandahar

An Afghan family flees the fighting in Kandahar on July 10.

Deadly clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban in and around the southern city of Kandahar have continued into a second day.

The Afghan military said on July 10 that dozens of insurgents have been killed in fighting in Kandahar's Seventh Police District and the provincial capital's surrounding Dand district.

"Joint security forces in support of the Afghan Air Force have conducted operations in the last 24 hours," an Afghan National Army spokesman told Radio Azadi on July 10. "As a result of these operations, 70 Taliban were killed and eight others were wounded."

Security officials have not provided any information on casualties among Afghan forces in the city, a former Taliban stronghold.

Civilians casualties have also been reported, with Kandahar's Mirwais Hospital saying it had been swamped with arriving wounded.

Out of 57 injured received by the hospital, director Mohammad Daud Farhad told Radio Azadi, 41 were civilians. Farhad said 11 dead had also been sent to the hospital, seven of whom where insurgents and the rest civilians and Afghan military personnel.

"I was preparing for the evening prayer when the mortar came," a civilian named Musa Jan told Radio Azadi at the hospital. "The women and children cried over me, and then people brought me to the hospital."

The Kandahar Department of Refugees said that about 2,000 families from Mir Bazaar and Mirwais Mina in the Seventh District of Kandahar have been displaced and forced to take refuge in other parts of the city.

"There was heavy fighting in the morning and last night," Abdul Manan, who fled the fighting with his family, told Radio Azadi on July 10. "Mortar shells were fired and people who were able to get out left, but others are still there."

Speaking to Radio Azadi on July 10, Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Nasi Barakzai said that Taliban militants have been forcibly evicting civilians and using their homes for cover.

"Our security forces are resisting [the Taliban], but the operation is complicated and slow because they are hiding in people's homes," Barakzai said.

An Afghan soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Afghan military had positioned tanks on high ground above occupied homes.

"We want to push the Taliban out of the city of Kandahar, but we don't want to destroy the homes of the people of the city," the soldier told Radio Azadi on July 10.

In addition to Kandahar city, heavy fighting has been reported in several districts of Kandahar Province, including Arghandab, Spin Boldak, and Dand.

The Taliban has not confirmed its involvement in the fighting in Kandahar but has claimed to have taken over several security checkpoints in the districts of Spin Boldak, Dand, and Zharai.

Dozens of Afghan districts have reportedly fallen under Taliban militant control since U.S.-led international forces officially began their withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, leaving forces loyal to Kabul's fragile government vulnerable to attack.

Afghan security officials have vowed that their troops are mounting counterattacks, and U.S. President Joe Biden has assured President Ashraf Ghani's administration that American forces will stand by Kabul despite the exit of combat forces.

This story is based on reporting by Radio Azadi correspondents on the ground in Afghanistan. Their names are being withheld for their protection.
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