Taliban have attacked Kandahar Airport with rockets. It is an important airport in southern Afghanistan which came under rocket fire as government forces struggle against Taliban assaults on several major cities.
Flights out of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, were halted after three rockets fired by the Taliban struck the airport in pre-dawn attack.
Airport chief Massoud Pashtun said two of those rockets hit the runway. An official at the civil aviation authority in the capital, Kabul confirmed the attack. So far, no injuries were reported in this attack.
“We targeted Kandahar Airport because our enemies were using it as a centre to conduct air strikes against us,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson told media today.
The facility is vital to providing the logistical and air support needed to keep the Taliban from overrunning the city, while also providing aerial cover for large tracts of southern Afghanistan.
Fighting has surged in the months since early May when US-led foreign forces began a final withdrawal from Afghanistan that is now almost complete.
After seizing large tracts of rural territory and capturing key border crossings, the Taliban has now started to besiege provincial capitals.
At present three major cities such as Lashkar Gah, Kandahar, and Herat were under pressure from the Taliban.
“The Taliban has picked up a huge amount of rural territory in the last month and now they are putting the cities under a heap of pressure, and then they can take that leverage back to the negotiating table.”
Afghan security forces have increasingly relied on air raids to push the fighters back from cities even as they run the risk of hitting civilians in heavily populated areas.
Residents of Lashkar Gah said the city is in the worst condition.
“Neither the Taliban will have mercy on us, nor will the government will stop bombing.”
Herat provincial governor’s spokesman Jailani Farhad said about 100 Taliban fighters had been killed in the attacks.
Both the Taliban and government forces have exaggerated claims of casualties inflicted on each other’s forces in the past and true counts are difficult to independently verify.
Meanwhile, government officials claimed that Afghan forces have employed air attacks to defend Herat and that the US was paying close attention to the situation in the province.
The Taliban continue to stage assassinations and launch grenades which makes people afraid to move around a city that is considered one of Afghanistan’s economic and cultural hubs.