Afghan security forces retake Taliban-held district

Government forces raise flag above Ghormach after three-day offensive as policemen deaths are confirmed.

    Afghan security forces retake Taliban-held district
    Afghanistan is struggling to contain an escalating insurgency that has targeted several cities in recent weeks [Ghulam Mustafa/EPA]

    Afghan security forces have retaken control of the Ghormach district after it was overrun by the Taliban several days ago.

    On Saturday, Faryab's deputy provincial police chief Baryalai Basharyar said that government forces raised the Afghan flag above the district headquarters following a three-day offensive.

    The district had fallen to the Taliban on Sunday after heavy clashes broke out.

    Basharyar confirmed the killings of Ghormach district police chief Abdul Majid and at least 12 other policemen. The circumstances of their deaths are unknown.

    Searches continue

    "Commander Majid, the brave police chief, didn't leave his stronghold to the enemy until he was wounded and captured by the Taliban," said Basharyar.

    Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan defence ministry, told Al Jazeera that government forces remain active in the district which is home to more than 50,000 people.

    "We have defeated the Taliban and cleared the district," said Waziri. "However, on-ground search operations are still ongoing to clear the district completely from the Taliban resistance."

    Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has intensified across the country.

    Escalating insurgency

    Afghan soldiers and police struggle to contain an escalating insurgency that has targeted several cities in recent weeks.

    Late last month, Taliban fighters briefly took over Kunduz before they were driven out of the strategic northern city by Afghan forces, backed by US air strikes.

    The brief fall of Kunduz dealt a major blow to the country's NATO-trained security forces and highlighted the Taliban's potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds.

    Nearly two months after Taliban appointed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as its leader, the armed group has captured new territories in northern and eastern Afghanistan and is reportedly advancing. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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