Conflicts & War

Afghan districts populated by persecuted Shiite minority fall to Taliban

Kabul, Jul 10 (EFE).- The Taliban have seized two northern districts of Afghanistan that have a majority population of the persecuted Hazara Shiite minority, security sources told Efe Saturday.

The two Parwan districts are the latest to fall to the Taliban group, which has launched a sweeping offensive in the country following the withdrawal of American troops and other foreign forces.

“Sheikh-Ali and Surkhi-Parsa district centers fell to the Taliban late yesterday evening,” a senior administrative official in Parwan province told Efe on the condition of anonymity.

Shekh-Ali district fell as a result of fierce fighting by Taliban Friday afternoon, the district governor, Rizadad Nazari, told Efe.

The insurgents, however, did not find any resistance in Surkhi-Parsa, where the 15 policemen deployed there fled before the Taliban’s arrival, a local official said on the condition of anonymity.

The security forces plan an offensive to regain control over the two districts, the Parwan governor press office told Efe.

These areas were among the most secure in the country over the past couple of decades of war as the ethnic community prevented the insurgents’ operations.

The Hazara minority has been a repeated target of attacks by terror groups, especially the Islamic State. The Taliban tend to distance themselves from claiming attacks on civilians.

The Taliban have taken control of at least 117 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts since 1 May, the fastest advance in the two-decade war.

US President Joe Biden said Thursday that the withdrawal of American forces will be completed before 31 August. He acknowledged that the Taliban was at its strongest position militarily since 2001. EFE

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