The city, in the region where the Italians operated, could be the first to fall, in a few hours. An Emergency volunteer: Deaths in the streets, a battlefield
There are deaths on the streets everywhere. Often the injured cannot be rescued, the communication routes are battlefields, difficult to bring them to hospitals. We since last Friday we have been hospitalizing only the victims with very serious war wounds. Their number is growing exponentially.
Leila Borsa’s voice arrives clearly by telephone from her office in the Emergency hospital, in the center of Lashkar Gah. Every now and then you hear shots and explosions. The shots fall very close. Much of the city is now in the hands of the Talibani, even if our neighborhood, which a few meters from the governor’s palace, remains under the control of the troops under the orders of the government of Kabul, explains this 32-year-old from the province of Milan, who has been working for the Italian NGO since February. They have 107 beds, almost all occupied by newly hospitalized patients. They keep a dozen free to try to cope with the continuous flow of arrivals. The city now deserted. Our inmates are almost all young fighters, government soldiers or the Taliban. We make no difference: we treat anyone who knocks on our door. It has always been Emergency’s philosophy and allows us to operate in difficult regions like this one, he adds.
Leila’s words confirm with dramatic details the news that has come urgently from Afghanistan in recent days. The Taliban have relaunched their offensive, while the Americans, together with the allies of the international coalition, are still completing the withdrawal, the final date of which is now scheduled for 31 August. The heart of the fighting is currently the three capitals of the southern and eastern regions. In Herat, where the Italian contingent stayed until June, the militias of the warlord local, Ismail Khan, try to prevent the Taliban from taking over the airport and the adjacent base (it was the Italian headquarters for about fifteen years). Furious fighting is also underway in Kandahar, which is the symbolic city of the Taliban. In fact, there was the headquarters of Mullah Omar, who in the first half of the nineties militarily organized his movement of students of Islamic religious schools and managed to conquer Kabul in September 1996, before being driven out by the US invasion in 2001.
But everything suggests that the first capital to be conquered could be Lashkar Gah, which with its 200,000 inhabitants is the most important city in the Helmand region and, together with Kandahar, represents the center of the Pashtun ethnic group, to which the Taliban belong. From here pass the major roads of communication with Pakistan. Yesterday afternoon at least nine of the ten central districts of Lashkar Gah were in the hands of the Taliban.
According to UN agencies, the civilians who died in the last 24 hours would be about forty. But local sources report hundreds of them. They lack water, electricity, food. The general of the regular army, Sami Sadat, has called on civilians to evacuate their homes as soon as possible, hinting that heavy bombing is imminent with the support of the US aviation. In Kabul a strong explosion hit the home of the Defense Minister, where the embassies and offices of foreign agencies are also located. The number of victims was uncertain last night.
August 3, 2021 (change August 3, 2021 | 23:26)
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