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Battle in Herat forces more Afghan civilians from homes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A security personnel member stands guard on top of a vehicle outside the office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Guzara district of Herat province, July 31, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Civilians have been forced from homes in two districts of Afghanistan’s western city of Herat, where clashes continue between Afghan forces and the Taliban.

Governor Abdul Saboor Qani said most of the fighting was taking place in the districts of Injil and Guzara, the latter being home to the city’s airport.

“At the moment the fighting is ongoing in the south and southeast,” Qani said, adding that the government forces were “moving cautiously” to “avoid civilian casualties.”

On Friday, an Afghan police guard was killed in an attack on a United Nations compound in the city. The main Herat compound of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and bullets. The UN blamed “anti-government elements.”

“This attack against the United Nations is deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest terms,” said Deborah Lyons, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

The Taliban have intensified operations across Afghanistan. The group now controls more than 200 of the country’s 419 district centers, according to the US military. 

The United States has withdrawn most of its troops from Afghanistan under a deal with the Taliban that was reached last year.

The 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, but it worsened the security situation in the country.

Washington is now blamed for the surge in violence as it has failed to stabilize the security situation after two decades of war and occupation.

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