ISLAMABAD: The Afghan government Wednesday sent troops and special police force to the eastern Badakhshan province, bordering Pakistan, to retake a district the Taliban had captured after hours of fierce battle, the Afghan defence ministry said.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks since they launched their annual “spring offensive” that is also seen as one of the serious challenges for next month’s presidential election run-off.
The Taliban have said that they have captured a district in the Badakhshan province during the “Khyber operation” and have hoisted their flags at the government’s buildings.
In Kabul, the defence ministry said more troops were sent to the Yamgan district to retake it from the Taliban insurgents. The district is located 80 kilometers from Faizabad, the provincial capital, and has a population of nearly 30,000 people.
The government has confirmed that eight police have been killed so far and 40 others have been seized by the Taliban. Officials have said that the fighting is still going on.
“The Islamic Emirate took control of the Yamgan district of northern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province on Tuesday after five hours of bloody fighting and raised the white flags of the Islamic Emirate across the region while the Mujahideen fighters routed out the enemy forces from the mentioned district,” the Taliban said.
The Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that 16 Afghan soldiers were killed and a larger number of them were injured.
“Three Mujahideen combatants embraced martyrdom with another wounded in five-hour massive assault coming amid “Operation Khyber, the countrywide offensives launched by Mujahideen on May 12,” Mujahid said in a statement.
He said the Taliban fighters had seized six military vehicles, an armoured personnel carrier and large amount of arms, ammunition and other sensitive electronic devices and military gears.
The Interior Ministry in Kabul said troops will push the Taliban out of the district as additional troops reach the area.
Afghan officials say the Taliban have also carried out attacks in the area however they launched a massive attack on Tuesday.
Deputy Governor of Badakhshan, Gul Muhammad Baidar, says that the main road linking the provincial capital Faizabad and the district have been closed for some time and the government has been facing problems in sending supplies.
The Taliban took advantage of the road blockade and took control of “some areas,” and the Afghan troops have launched an operation to take control of the areas, Baidar told the media in Kabul.
Taliban launched traditional offensive as weather warns in Afghanistan with more attacks on foreign and Afghan troops.
Afghan officials said Wednesday that 10 Afghan Local Police (ALP) officials, including a commander, were killed in two fresh incidents of violence in southern Zabul and eastern Laghman provinces.
Six ALP personnel had been abducted by rebels on their way to the Nawbahar district of Zabul a week ago, Deputy Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoulyar said, private Afghan news agency Pajhwok News reported.
A district chief was also wounded and a police commander killed in a suicide attack in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday.
Abdul Khaliq Maroof, the district’s administrative head, was wounded and an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander killed.
In another incident, at least 15 people were wounded in a bomb blast in Pashtoon Kot district of northwestern Faryab province on Wednesday, an official said.
The incident took place around when a bomb placed in a shop selling liquefied gas went off in the district centre, wounding 15 people, including children and women, a border police commander said.
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