Afghan government loses control over 13 more districts
Local officials have confirmed that the government has lost control over 13 more districts in six provinces as the Taliban militants continue to expand their territorial control in different parts of the country.
The districts lost in recent battles are namely Dushi and Jilga in Baghlan province, Dasht-e-Archi and Qalay-i-Zal in Kunduz province; Dawlat Abad, Kushinda, and Shulgara in Balkh province; Kohistan in Faryab province; Aqcha, Mangjik, Khanqa, and Faizabad in Jowzjan province, and Khas Urozgan in Urozgan province.
Except Khas Urozgan in the southern Urozgan province, all the other 12 districts fallen to the militants are located in northern and northeastern provinces.
Dushi and Jilga districts fell to the Taliban last night, June 20, after security forces retreated from the two districts’ centers, said Mohammad Hanif Kahgadai, a member of Baghlan Provincial Council.
He said that Baghlan’s Nahrin district is also under the Taliban siege, adding that the militants have blocked the highway connecting the northern provinces with the capital Kabul in Khinjan district of the Baghlan.
Another local source, however, told Kabul Now that the security forces were forced to retreat from the districts’ centers after hours-long clashes against the Taliban militants.
A source from Tala wa Barfak district said that the Taliban attacks have been repelled in this district by government forces while being supported by the local militias.
In the northeastern Kunduz province, the militants have overrun Dasht-i-Archi and Qalay-i-Zal districts of the province after the government forces retreated from the districts’ centers, said Mohammad Yousuf Ayoubi, a member of Kunduz Provincial Council.
He added that heavy fighting is underway between the government forces and the Taliban militants in Imam Sahib district of the province.
According to the local official, the war has even spread to Kunduz city and the two sides are engaging in sporadic clashes inside the provincial capital.
In the northern key province of Balkh, the militants have taken control of Dawlat Abad, Shulgara, and Kushinda districts, according to Ghulam Sakhi Lala, a member of Balkh Provincial Council.
He detailed that Dawlat Abad and Kushinda districts fell to the Taliban last night and Shulgara district was overthrown earlier today, June 21.
He confirmed that both, the government forces and the Taliban, suffered casualties but did not provide a specific figure.
In the northern province of Faryab, a local security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Kabul Now that the province’s Kohistan district has also fallen to the Taliban and the security forces stationed in the district’s center have surrendered to the militants.
Another local source told Kabul Now that a total of 60 government forces have surrendered to the Taliban after mediation by the local residents.
According to Babur Ishchi, Chief of Jowzjan Provincial Council, Aqcha, Mangjik, Khanqa, and Faizabad districts of the province have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban. The local official claimed that around 150 security forces have surrendered to the Taliban in these districts.
Jowzjan’s Mardian district had fallen to the militants yesterday’s morning.
In the southern Urozgan province, Ahmad Shah Sahel, spokesman for Urozgan governor, confirmed to Kabul Now that Khas Urozgan district of the province has fallen to the Taliban after government forces left the district’s center.
With the 13 districts captured by the militants, the total number of districts fallen to the Taliban since May 01, beginning of foreign troop withdrawal, raises to 55.