Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Taliban Challenges Government in Lashkargah

Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, falls among the seven areas that have been handed over to Afghan Security Forces. Its government seemed quite excited, when some days earlier security responsibilities of the set number of provinces and cities including Lashkargah were transferred to Afghan National Army and Police. Although concerns over the capability of Afghan forces to keep security intact in areas now completely under their thumb, Taliban have tried to give a tough time to government in Lashkargah and other districts of Helmand.

Yesterday in an early-morning suicide attack 10 people including 7 police personnel were killed while 15 others were injured. A day before this incident, at least 20 people were killed when a passenger vehicle hit an IED (roadside bomb).

While last week the Taliban hang a child in Gerishk district of Helmand after his father - a police officer - denied handing himself and a police vehicle as ransom to free his son. This is clear challenge to the government forces to stop Taliban from further deteriorating situation in Helmand, specifically in its capital. Taliban's attacks in Lashkargah are expected to continue and intensify putting the success of first phase of security transition in doubts. Already people are worried to withdrawal of international community from Afghanistan.

Indeed, Lashkargah should have been transferred to Afghan security forces. Helmand has been counted among the most in secure provinces of Afghanistan. Insurgents' safe havens are conceived to be present in Helmand and provinces around it. The Taliban have resisted the ten-year international military operations and gains against it are deemed to be highly fragile. The Taliban would put optimal effort to show how much strong they are in south and it seems to have selected Lashgargah, Kandahar, Tarin Kot and other strategically important areas in south as their focal points for this purpose.

Until 2014, the whole country will be transitioned to Afghan Security Forces. Transition is a welcoming process for Afghans but seeing the current strength of terrorists and low capacity of Afghan forces, one can not be hopeful about future defense of Afghanistan.