FARYAB -- The continued atrocities perpetrated by the Taliban have enraged Faryab Province residents into taking up arms against the militant group and in support of government forces.
"In some areas of our province the Taliban have deprived ordinary people of having a normal life, for they have endangered the lives, properties and security of the residents of Faryab," Faizullah, the commander of the popular uprising in Faryab Province, told Salaam Times.
"For that reason, I, along with hundreds of other residents of our province, picked up our weapons and declared the beginning of a popular uprising against the Taliban," he said. "We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our security forces in fighting our sworn enemy, the Taliban."
Sons of Faryab are ready
Faizullah assured the people of Faryab that they should no longer be concerned, because their sons, equipped with all the necessary material and moral support, will defend and protect them.
"These popular uprisings will continue for as long as the Taliban constitute a threat to our people, and also for as long as there is a need for such uprisings," he said.
"Thousands of people, hundreds of whom are among members of the popular uprisings, held a large gathering in Maimana in October, Faryab Province, for the purpose of achieving security, cracking down on the Taliban and supporting the security forces," Faryab Province Governor Syed Anwar Sadat told Salaam Times, expressing his support for these popular uprising.
"The Taliban's recent movement and activities in some areas, along with the horror that this terrorist group had created, made hundreds of residents of Faryab Province take up arms and initiate spontaneous popular uprisings against the Taliban," he said.
"Popular uprisings and gatherings that are happening in Faryab demonstrate this reality: that people support and defend the government and the accomplishments that have been achieved through the efforts and sacrifices of the Afghan people along with their international supporters, and that they will never return to the dark era of the Taliban," Sadat said.
In some areas and districts where security forces are thin on the ground, ordinary citizens are fighting alongside them against the Taliban, he said.
Authorities support the uprisings
Faryab authorities support these popular uprisings and, if necessary, are prepared to provide them with further financial and logistic support, Sadat said.
Arifullah, a Faryab farmer, is participating in the popular uprising after purchasing a weapon with money he received from selling one of his cows.
"The Taliban have prevented further development of our province," he told Salaam Times. "The mere existence of this group can jeopardise the future of our children. We are unable to properly attend to our farms and livestock, and our children cannot go to school, all because of the militants."
"The Taliban are extremely radical," Arifullah said. "The world has developed significantly, and we do not want to move backward."
"This is the reason for which I took up arms, so that I can prevent the Taliban from conducting their destructive actions and to kick them out of Faryab," he said.
"The bloodthirsty Taliban must know that they no longer have a place in our province, and that we, the people of Faryab, will continue our uprisings against the Taliban until our last breath," Ahmadullah, another participant of the popular uprising, told Salaam Times.
"The Taliban's tyranny and oppression of the people, coupled with their abuse of the name of Islam, are the main causes of the popular mobilisation and uprisings in Faryab Province," said Karim Yoresh, a spokesman for the Faryab Province chief of police.
"Hundreds of participants of these popular uprisings in different regions and areas are working in co-operation with the security forces to defeat and destroy the Taliban," he told Salaam Times.
Local knowledge helps
"The participation of the members of popular uprisings in fighting against the Taliban has been extremely effective, since people are very familiar with their areas and can fight the Taliban in the best possible ways," he said.
The uprisings are particularly effective because front-line forces can be sparse in remote areas, Yoresh said.
"When the Taliban forces attack remote areas, the members of popular uprisings defend their homes and areas until the security forces arrive," he said.
The local government has always supported the participants of these uprisings and will continue to provide them with weapons and logistical back-up, Yoresh confirmed.
Following suit, thousands of residents in neighbouring Jawzjan Province held a gathering on October 17 to announce the initiation of their popular uprisings against the Taliban and to declare their support for the Afghan security forces.