Kandahar, June 20: After pushing the Taliban out of the Kandahar city yesterday, a Canadian commander in Afghanistan warned that there may be "more spectacular" attacks from the extremists in the coming months.
"There is no doubt in my mind, however, that further insurgent attacks will take place in the months ahead," the globeandmail.com quoted top Canadian commander in Afghanistan Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, as saying. By spectacular attack, the commander referred to last week's well-planned attack on Sarpoza jail on the western outskirts of Kandahar city, freeing nearly 400 Taliban and 600 other criminals, and thereafter briefly seizing the control of a dozen villages in Arghandab district.
Gen. Thompson said that the Taliban was capable of more attacks, even something on the scale of the prison break. The latest crisis appeared to have passed, even as Kandahar police chief Sayed Agha Saqib said that 50-60 insurgents were killed in the fighting, including two fleeing Taliban shot by police near the bridge that connects Arghandab with the district of Shah Wali Kot.
Many other insurgents escaped northward, officials said. Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid said: "The search is still going on. Wherever they are, we will find them, and if they think what they've showed us is the tip of the iceberg, they can come back and they will get the same treatment that their insurgent brothers received in the last 24 hours."
According to NATO estimates, nearly 700 families have so far fled the Arghandab district in the past week. "We're not allowing the ordinary people back to their villages yet because we don't know if there are any land mines or Taliban left over. We had fighting this afternoon, but it was only minor fighting," the Afghan official responsible for the district Haji Ghulam Farooq, said.
One of those whose family was displaced, a 35-year-old farmer named Abdullah, said he is still waiting to be certain the Taliban have vanished. He moved his wife and four children from the village of Kohak on Tuesday, just before it was bloodily retaken from insurgents on Wednesday. "We are happy the fighting is finishing now. But maybe the Taliban will come again to Arghandab. I thought the fighting would continue for a month or a year, like in Panjwai, so we will be lucky if this is the end of the fighting," Abdullah said.