Conflicts & War

Taliban capture district near capital in Afghanistan

Kabul, May 12 (EFE).- Nirkh district, located in Afghanistan’s central Maidan Wardak province and nearest one to the capital city of Kabul, fell to the Taliban after several days of heavy fighting, according to official sources Wednesday.

“Taliban captured the district yesterday evening and entered the district center” Maidan Wardak Governor Abdul Rahman Tariq said in a video message.

He said the security forces made “a tactical retreat” from the district center, which houses the administrative office and district police building, but did not provide further details.

The district had been under constant Taliban attacks over the past few days and eventually it “fell as a result of a deal with the Taliban” a Provincial Council member told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

After capturing the district, the militants set fire to the government buildings and seized all available equipment and weapons.

The Provincial Council member said the security situation in Maidan Wardak was “not good” and the collapse of Nirkh district served as a “threat and alarm” to the security of the capital city of Kabul.

Nirkh district, located around 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) southwest of Kabul, is the nearest district to Kabul to fall to the Taliban since 2001, when the Taliban government was overthrown after the invasion by the United States and its allies.

The insurgents captured the district just ahead of a three-day ceasefire in the country on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations that begin Thursday.

Afghan government and ordinary citizens have urged the Taliban for a permanent ceasefire or at least to extend the one already announced.

However, the Taliban has rejected these requests, stressing they will continue the fighting until their goal of establishing an Islamic government was achieved.

Violence also continued in other parts of the country ahead of the ceasefire.

The Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that security forces had killed at least 64 Taliban fighters and wounded another 41 in the last 24 hours in eight of the country’s 34 provinces.

Afghanistan is witnessing a significant increase in armed violence in the last two weeks, following the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan on May 1, a process which is expected to be completed by early September. EFE


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