Kabul, Jun 7 (EFE).- The Taliban captured two more districts in the last 24 hours in northwestern Afghanistan, taking the number of fallen districts to 11 in the last one month as foreign forces began their withdrawal from the country.
Qaisar district in the insecure Faryab province and Shahrak district in Ghor province fell to the insurgents overnight, official sources said Monday.
The security forces made a “tactical retreat” from Shahrak district, according to a statement by Ghor Governor Abdul Zahir Faiz.
During the retreat, at least seven security forces members were killed and three were injured in attacks by the insurgents, among whose ranks 18 died and 24 were wounded, added Faiz.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian also confirmed in a short statement that the security forces have made a “tactical retreat” from the district center, but provided no further details.
Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said in a statement that “Shahrak district center, Police Headquarters, army base and all check posts” had been “conquered” and that officials and troops had fled the area.
Ahmadi said 11 soldiers had surrendered to the Taliban, and that the militants had seized six vehicles with a large amount of weapons and ammunition.
Qaisar district in Faryab province also fell to the insurgents following days of fierce fighting, and after 14 members of the security forces in the district were killed in a truck bombing on Sunday.
“Afghan security forces retreated from all government buildings in Qaisar district after militants’ heavy attacks on the facilities,” a security official in Faryab province, who asked not to be named, told EFE.
In the past 24 hours, fierce fighting has been underway in 16 of the 34 Afghan provinces, in which 126 Taliban fighters have been killed and 79 injured, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.
The number of districts captured by the Taliban in the last one month has now increased to 11, which is the highest in the last 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan.
Provincial council members and parliamentarians have attributed the Taliban’s success in recent weeks to a weak leadership among the defense and security forces.
The troops face inadequate supply of food and ammunition in the insecure parts of the country, while injured personnel are rarely evacuated on time.
These failures have negatively affected the morale of the security forces in fight against the Taliban, especially in remote areas.
Violence has increased in the past month, particularly after the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of the 2,500 US troops and around 7,000 NATO troops stationed in the country on May 1, a process that is expected to be completed by early September.
The attacks are taking place despite the efforts by Afghans and the international community to resume the stalled peace talks in Doha. EFE