By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The tenacious spate of bloody violence in Afghanistan claimed more than 3,000 lives on all sides in the past two months amid escalating fighting having surrounded September's landmark presidential polls in the country.
Anadolu Agency's coverage in August and September indicates new highs in Taliban-claimed bombings and coordinated group assaults as well as aggressive air and ground operations by the Afghan and U.S. forces.
Taliban's synchronized assaults on four districts in the otherwise peaceful northern Takhar province forced more than 4,000 families to flee their homes in the last week of September.
Provincial assembly secretary Mohammed Azam Afzali told Anadolu Agency that the residents of several districts lost their livelihoods following the recent surge in clashes here.
A number of top officials from the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) rushed to Takhar in a bid to secure this strategically important part of the country.
The Afghan Interior Ministry claimed killing over 30 insurgents in clashes while the Taliban made much higher claims of casualties inflicted upon the government forces.
Mid-September was the worst period for Afghan civilians as violence spiked immensely amid the failed peace talks between the U.S and the Taliban and the scaled up government efforts to hold the Sept. 28 presidential polls staunchly opposed by the insurgents.
A drone strike hit and killed a group of 14 pine-nut farmers in Nangarhar forcing Mohammad Masoum Stanekzai, the head of the spy agency NDS, to resign.
On the very same day, Sept. 19, a Taliban-claimed suicide truck bombing devastated a public hospital in Zabul province, killing at least 20 people.
The massive bombing hitting the main public hospital in the province also left more than 90 others injured, Atta Jan Haq, the chairman of the provincial assembly, told Anadolu Agency.
It was the only public hospital in this remote province located between the restive Kandahar and Ghazni provinces -- marred by the deadly insurgency.
Within days of these calamities, an air raid in the southern Helmand province caused at least 14 more deaths, including many civilians. The insurgents, fleeing a ground offensive of the security forces, attempted to hide in a group of civilians who were returning from a late Sunday night wedding ceremony when the aerial bombing hit them.
Just days ahead of the polls, at least 24 people, mostly civilians, were killed in another Taliban-claimed bomb attack on a campaign rally by President Ashraf Ghani in the city of Charikar, Parwan, 69 kilometers (43 miles) north of the capital Kabul.
Based in Kabul, columnist Gul Mohammad opined the appalling state of security affairs were directly linked to the presidential elections.
"The Taliban had publicly warned the Afghan people and the government against the elections, which they fear would give another five-year term to 'puppet regime' backed by the west," he said.
A month before, August saw massive group assaults by the Taliban in the restive northern provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan, besides multiple car bombing in the capital Kabul, causing death, destruction and panic. The rebels managed to briefly enter the major urban centers in Kunduz and Baghlan, but were pushed back by the security forces backed by the U.S. air power.
Human suffering took a new face in Afghanistan in August when a father was killed in a Taliban assault led by his son.
The incident took place on Aug. 26 in the northern Jawzjan province bordering Turkmenistan.
Elif Shah, the governor of Faizabad district of the province, told Anadolu Agency that Afghan army veteran Baaz Mohammad, 60, was killed along with his 11 colleagues by a group of Taliban assailants led by his son.
Days before his death, Mohammad, who was the commander of a pro-government force, underlined the importance of peace in the country in an interview with local Azadi Radio.
"We have imposed this calamity [war] on us due to our own absurdity. Only if we realize there be no other way [for resolution of the war] than peace agreement," he was quoted by the radio.