Kabul, July 8 (EFE).- The Afghan forces have recaptured Qala-e-Naw city of the northwestern Badghis province that fell to the Taliban a day ago in their rapid advance through Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday
“The city is completely cleared of the terrorists and there is no fighting inside the city,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Fawad Aman told EFE.
The Taliban gained control of the provincial capital city on Wednesday morning after more than 600 personnel from the government forces surrendered to the advancing insurgents with their weapons.
At least 69 Taliban fighters were killed and 23 injured in the counterattack by the Afghan forces.
Badghis in northwestern Afghanistan is one of the most underdeveloped provinces in the country.
It holds strategic importance for both the government and the Taliban as it shares a border with Turkmenistan in the north and connects northwestern Afghan provinces with western Herat province.
The defense ministry said, in a statement, that security forces launched airstrikes to target Taliban hideouts and fighters in various parts of the city.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the insurgents had left the city.
“Our fighters retreated from the city,” Mujahid told EFE.
He said the Taliban did not plan to capture the city but captured it briefly to prevent looting of the government properties after security forces withdrew on Wednesday morning.
The defense ministry said “a big number of commando forces” were deployed in the city last night for clearance operations and to reinforce the security in and around Qala-e-Naw.
Zyauddin Akazoy, a member of the lower house of the Afghan parliament from Badghis, told EFE that the fighting was still on in the city between the security forces and the Taliban.
He said the central government needed to send more reinforcements to let the Afghan forces push the Taliban back from Qala-e-Naw.
Akazoy said the residents in panic and trapped inside the houses, and all shops and businesses were closed in the city.
He said the insurgents broke open a prison complex on Wednesday and freed hundreds of inmates, including their jailed colleagues.
Gun battles also continued in at least 12 of the 34 Afghan provinces in the past 24 hours.
The defense ministry said 107 Taliban fighters were killed and 58 injured in these clashes.
The Taliban captured Kishk-e-Kohna and Zindajan districts of Herat province in the neighborhood of Badghis,
The Herat governor’s office confirmed the fall of these districts.
Security forces retreated to avoid civilian casualties, the governor’s office said in a statement. EFE