62 Afghan forces released as deadly battles drag on in winter season

Deadly battles have intensified unprecedentedly this winter – a season in which usually the violence level comes down – between Afghan defense and security forces and the Taliban militants. According to reports, more than 20 Afghan forces and nearly 30 Taliban militants have been killed in Kunduz, Baghlan, and Badghis provinces.

62 Afghan forces have been freed from Taliban prison as the result of a special operation conducted by Afghan commando forces last night, January 28, in Bokan area of Balamurghab district of the western Badghis province, said Sher Agha Alkozai, deputy police chief of the province. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed the news.

According to Mr. Alkozai, 20 Taliban fighters were killed and wounded during the operation and five other insurgents have been arrested.

On the other hand, 13 Afghan forces were killed and nine others wounded after the Taliban militants attacked their checkpoints in Kuloop area of Dasht-e-Archi district of the northern Kunduz province, said Mawlawi Abdullah, a councilman of the province. The incident took place last night, Tuesday, January 28.

He added that the Taliban militants have taken four other army soldiers as hostages with themselves and have left the area.

Although Mr. Abdullah and Enamuddin Rahmani, spokesperson for Kunduz police chief, did not provide details about the Taliban casualties, the MoD said in a statement that eight Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike in Dasht-e-Archi district of the province.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have claimed that they have killed 35 Afghan defense and security forces in the attack.

In a separate attack of the militant group, a police commander was killed along with unknown number of his comrades in Pul-e-Khumri, capital city of the northern Baghlan province, according to Jawid Besharat, spokesperson for the provincial police chief. The incident took place earlier on Tuesday’s morning, January 28, in Khwaja Alwan area of Pul-e-Khumri.

The local media reported conflicting death tolls left by the Taliban attack. Some reported the death toll as 10 security forces while some others said 18 people were killed in the attack.

On the other hand, the MoD said in a statement issued yesterday, January 28, that Baharak district of the northern Takhar province has been completely cleared from the presence of the Taliban militants. The ministry detailed that construction of new outposts and military bases were underway in the district in order to prevent further security threats in the future.

The intensified and deadly battles in the winter season come as US and the Taliban have reportedly reached an agreement on “reduction in violence” after more than a year-long direct talks in the Qatari capital, Doha.