HERAT -- Thousands of Afghans have taken up arms in support of Afghan security forces throughout the country and have joined the fight against the Taliban.
With the mobilisation of the public and their support for Afghan security forces, a significant amount of Taliban activity has been disrupted, say military officials in the western region.
"The Taliban are incapable of fighting security forces and the public," Maj. Gen. Kheyal Nabi Ahmadzai, commander of the 207th Zafar Corps, told reporters at the end of June.
At the beginning of July, Herat Governor Abdul Saboor Qani said public uprising forces in most districts of Herat have stood up to the Taliban, who have been forced to retreat from many areas in fear of civilians and security forces.
"The Taliban had planned to capture Pashtun Zarghun, Gulran, and Ghorian districts in recent days, but security forces thwarted their plans," Qani added.
"With the co-operation of the public, security forces have suppressed the Taliban throughout Herat province," he said.
Under the leadership and co-ordination of security agencies, public uprising forces are fully prepared to suppress the Taliban, Qani said.
Government and pro-government forces have beat back Taliban militants in Shindand, Ghorian, Gulran, Keshk Kuhna, Zindajan, Pashtun Zarghun and Chesht-e-Sharif districts, said Herat police chief Col. Sayed Mirajuddin Sadat July 1.
An obstacle for the Taliban
The Taliban should forget about their dream of achieving a military victory, said Mohammad Naim Ghayur, a military analyst in Herat city.
Public uprisings against the Taliban are a result of the group's brutality and barbaric behaviour, said Ghayur.
"By continuing the war and destroying Afghanistan, the Taliban have forced the public to take up arms and fight them," he added.
"Every day, hundreds of residents of different provinces take up arms to fight the Taliban and stand with security forces in the frontlines. This is a clear message to the Taliban that they will never win on the battlefield," Ghayur said.
With false pride, the Taliban think they are winning this war. But by continuing violence, they shed the blood of hundreds of innocent Afghans every day and destroy the country's infrastructure, he added.
Public uprisings against the Taliban have brought the group's offensive close to a standstill, said Ghulam Nabi Zirak, a retired Afghan National Army general.
"The Taliban have committed every kind of crime against the people in the last 20 years. Therefore, the group has no place among the public," he said.
The Taliban are working for foreign intelligence in Afghanistan and have no base of support. The more they try to escalate violence and seize territory, the more it will infuriate civilians, resulting in a public revolt against the Taliban, he added.
Given the growing discontent of civilians with the Taliban, the group will never be able to gain power, unless it makes peace with the government and shares power through peaceful means, said Zirak.
The Taliban have destroyed roads and bridges in Injil and are oppressing the population, said Aziz Ahmad Ahmadi, a resident of Injil district, Herat province.
Civilians have come together and taken up arms against Taliban militants because of the group's increased attacks in provinces and districts, he said.
"We have taken up arms and will defend our homeland, our people and our honour against the Taliban," he added.
Injil's residents will no longer allow the Taliban to enter their district or villages, said Ahmadi.
"We have remained silent for too long while this terrorist group has carried on, but from now on, if they come to our village, they will not leave alive," he said.
The Taliban have ruined several districts by destroying roads and bridges, said Abdul Qader Ramazani, a resident of Karukh district in Herat.
"They have done nothing for the public except destruction and devastation," he said.
"The Taliban have forced us to take up arms and fight them alongside security forces," he added.
"The Taliban tortured and beat up our people so much. Although civilians have no food, the Taliban extort money from them by force."
Some 20 to 30 Taliban militants would come to his village every day and force civilians to give them food, he said.
From now on, security forces are not alone in the fight against the terrorist Taliban militants -- the people are by their side and support them, said Abdul Rahman Mobarez, a resident of Ghor province.
"We have taken up arms to suppress the Taliban," he added. "We will not allow them to operate anywhere."
"We are co-operating with our security forces in the fight against the Taliban, and we will not allow the group to continue its oppression any further," he vowed.
"I will fight the Taliban alongside security forces until the last drop of my blood," said Hayatullah, another Ghor resident, who goes by one hame.
"As long as I am alive, I will defend my homeland and my people."