Afghan Taliban have established checkposts on key Highways in Afghanistan

Afghan Taliban have established checkposts on key Highways in Afghanistan

MAIMANA - Taliban gunmen have established checkpoints on key highway in Sherin Tagab district of northern Faryab province and are searching vehicles to look for government employees.

Hamidullah, a civil government servant in Maimana, Faryab’s capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News that he wanted to travel to Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, for a medical test on Wednesday but on reaching Khwaja Sabzposh district he was told the Taliban had created a checkpoint on the highway and he turned back to Maimana.

He said despite having no political and military affiliation he feared the Taliban would take him hostage and thus returned to Maimana.

Farhad, a driver on the Maimana-Mazar-i-Sharif highway, said that he was stopped by Taliban in Sherin Tagab district and the militants asked five of his passengers if they worked for the government. “We were allowed to go after a long and strict search,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Mohammad Shah, police chief of Sherin Tagab district, confirmed the presence of the Taliban checkpoint and said the rebel group had created their checkpoints in Shash Tapa and Islam Qala areas of the district. However, he did not provide further information about the issue.

The Taliban have been in control of a 50-kilometer portion of the Maimana-Mazar-i-Sharif highway in Sherin Tagab and Dawlat Abad districts over the last seven months.

The Afghan forces have been conducting a clearing operation on the highway for the last two months and plan to establish security posts for the highway’s protection. However, the militants are still in control of the route.

Two days back, Faryab governor and 209thShahin Military Corps commander told a news conference that around 50 Taliban rebels including 12 commanders had been killed during an operation over the past one week in Khwaja Sabz Posh district.

They had said 28 villages were cleared and the operation was ongoing to free the highway from Taliban control.