Afghan fighting force people to flee
Up to 3,000 people have fled their homes in southern Afghanistan because of heavy fighting between Taliban and security forces.india Updated: May 25, 2006 16:32 IST
Up to 3,000 people have fled their homes in southern Afghanistan because of heavy fighting between Taliban and security forces, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday.
There have been fierce clashes west of southern Kandahar city for weeks, with three major encounters in the Panjwayi district including a battle that started on Sunday and left around 100 people dead, most of them rebels.
At least 16 of the dead were civilians, with coalition and Afghan officials saying Taliban had forced their way into locals' homes during the encounter, effectively using them as human shields.
About four to five villages had been evacuated in the area, about 35 kms west of Kandahar city, an IOM official said, estimating this would cover between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
The villagers were coming to Kandahar and moving in with relatives and friends in the city, Kandahar programme officer Nasim Karim said.
"They are scared, they are terrified. If they don't support the Taliban, they are threatened. If they do, then from the other side they are being bombed and shot at," he told the agency. "They have no choice."
About 25 to 30 families at a camp for internally-displaced people in the region had also packed up and moved into the city, Karim said.