Afghan forces retake provincial capital after Taliban incursion: Afghan defence ministry

Published July 8, 2021
Afghan National Army soldiers patrol the area near a checkpoint recaptured from the Taliban, in the Alishing district of Laghman province, Afghanistan, July 8. — Reuters
Afghan National Army soldiers patrol the area near a checkpoint recaptured from the Taliban, in the Alishing district of Laghman province, Afghanistan, July 8. — Reuters

Afghan government forces on Thursday wrested back control of a western provincial capital stormed by the Taliban a day earlier and hundreds of fresh troops have been deployed to the region, the defence ministry said.

It said some fighting was continuing on the fringes of Qala-e-Naw, capital of Badghis province, which borders the central Asian country of Turkmenistan.

Insurgents had on Wednesday seized key government buildings in the city including the police headquarters as part of a dramatic Taliban advance unfolding as foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan after a 20-year-long intervention.

“The city is fully (back) under our control and we are conducting operations against the Taliban on the outskirts of the city,” defence ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said.

The ministry said 69 Taliban fighters had been killed in fresh operations on the edge of Qala-e-Naw — the first major provincial capital entered by the Islamist insurgents in their latest offensive.

A large quantity of Taliban arms and ammunition was also seized by government forces, the ministry said on Twitter.

The rest of Badghis province is in Taliban hands. Western security officials say the Taliban have captured more than 100 districts in Afghanistan; the Taliban say they hold over 200 districts in 34 provinces comprising over half the country. Main cities and provincial capitals remain under government control.

The insurgents have been gaining territory for weeks but accelerated their thrust as the United States vacated its main Afghan base, effectively ending an intervention that began with the ousting of the radical Islamist Taliban government in 2001.

Taliban advances have been especially dramatic in northern provinces where they had long been kept at bay. Stop-start peace talks between the government and insurgents remain inconclusive.

Later on Thursday, US President Joe Biden is scheduled to comment on the US withdrawal, which has raised fears of an outbreak of civil war there and drawn criticism.

Opinion

Editorial

Crisis conference
Updated 04 Feb, 2023

Crisis conference

PTI's refusal to engage with the govt in such testing times will only be seen as sign of ideological bankruptcy.
Revenge politics
04 Feb, 2023

Revenge politics

A SENSE of déjà-vu prevails as cases pile up against PTI politicians, many of whom, along with their allies and...
Inappropriate remarks
04 Feb, 2023

Inappropriate remarks

OFFICIALS of the state, especially when representing the country at international forums, need to choose their words...
Delay in the offing?
Updated 03 Feb, 2023

Delay in the offing?

Govt must realise that political stability in the country cannot be achieved by extra-constitutional actions.
Divisions in PML-N
03 Feb, 2023

Divisions in PML-N

DISCORD and drama in PML-N ranks escalated this week when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi revealed he no longer holds a party...
Wikipedia ‘downgrade’
03 Feb, 2023

Wikipedia ‘downgrade’

ATTEMPTS to police the internet by states, often by giving opaque justifications for the action, are never a good...