Afghan military forces have reportedly cleared the centre of Ghazni City, with house to house clearing operations ongoing. Fighting reportedly moved to the outskirts of the city, with Taliban fighters slowly withdrawing towards surrounding villages, according to media and security sources.
Parts of the water system are functioning again, according to authorities, and the water infrastructure has reportedly not sustained major damage. Additional generator power is needed to ensure functionality of the distribution system.
Mobile phone networks are gradually coming back online, however outages are frequent and communications remain difficult. Antennae across the city sustained varying degrees of damage during the fighting, according to multiple reports.
The electricity is in the city is reportedly still down, although one humanitarian source indicated that some degree of service had been reinstated.
Parts of Highway 1, notably around 50 kilometres from Ghazni City to Saydabad in neighbouring Wardak Province, are reportedly destroyed, contested or contaminated with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). There are reports of sporadic fighting in the same area. Further, there are reports of IEDs having been placed on the ring road around Ghazni.
Currently, there is no safe way for civilians and humanitarian workers to enter the city.
Civilian casualties are estimated to range from 200 to 250, according to latest, unverified numbers.
High needs for psychosocial support are expected amongst residents, including children.
There are reports of unaccompanied minors turning up at the hospital, requiring family reunification.
The lack of electricity in the city hampers the availability of water for the majority of residents who either rely on electricity to pump water from boreholes, or who buy water from neighbours.
Many shops and markets have reportedly been burned or looted, while some shops have reopened.
Prices for basic commodities are inflated.
The Afghan Red Crescent Society has collected the mortal remains of more than 250 people killed, both civilians and combatants, in different parts of the city.
UNICEF is in process of dispatching 500 kilograms of chlorine to flush the water system, and acquiring a generator to support water distribution in the city.
WFP has food available for dispatch from Kabul to cover the needs of 1,200 families during one month. Safe access on Highway 1 will be required to transport the allocated commodities to Ghazni.
The Government has made available AFS15 million (US$206,000) via the Afghan Natural Disaster Management Authority, and can provide food for 2,000 families for one month, according to the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster.
While opportunities are opening for humanitarian partners to operate where fighting and clearance operations have concluded, entry to the city for aid workers and supplies remains unsafe.
Humanitarian mine action teams are able to survey and map pressure-plate IEDs. The specialized capacity and responsibility to clear them, however, rests with the government. It is important to ensure that assessments are followed up immediately with clearance. Failure to do so may jeopardise community acceptance of humanitarian workers and expose the residents of Ghazni to further harm.
The immediate restoration of electricity in the city, to ensure water supply, is a top priority.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.