09:51 GMT21 January 2021
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    In Afghanistan, Taliban militants have regained much of their traditional stronghold of Helmand Province and are now poised to recapture its entire territory. In an interview with Sputnik, Helmand-based political analyst Toufan Waziri blamed this on the government’s negligence, the political crisis and NATO inactivity.

    “No matter how hard the Afghan army is trying to flush the rebel militants out of Helmand, the long-term effect of this effort is next to nil. The terrorists often find refuge with local families who don’t trust the government. There is a real war going on in Helmand where the government forces control a mere five percent of the province,” Toufan Waziri said.

    He added that people had lost their trust in government officials, central and regional alike, who they believe are enmeshed in all kinds of corruption scandals.

    “They have their hands full settling their own disputes and stealing the people’s money, they simply have no time to keep an eye on the terrorists who are seizing ever new territories without facing any serious resistance,” Toufan Waziri continued.
    MPs, representing Helmand Province in the national parliament, have tried to draw attention to this problem, but the government is doing nothing to improve the situation.

    “Drug dealers, smugglers and illegal arms traders now rule supreme in the province, which means that they are being helped by security agencies in neighboring Iran and Pakistan from where the drugs are making their way to Central Asia and further on to Europe,” Toufan Waziri said, adding that the Iranians and Pakistanis were sending the proceeds of these illegal trade to the Afghan Taliban this financing their attacks on peaceful civilians in Helmand.

    “Meanwhile, the Afghan security services are a complete failure because if they had had worked better we wouldn’t be talking about the big gains being made by the Taliban’s Qate-ye Sorh (Red Units) commandos.  Moreover, the government forces deployed in Helmand are running short of arms and ammunition,” Toufan Waziri complained.

    Last week saw renewed fighting in Helmand as Taliban militants advanced on Lashkar Gah city, the besieged capital of the  province, forcing thousands of people to abandon their homes.

    This latest outbreak of violence in the poppy-growing southern province underscores a rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.


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