Kabul, July 6 (EFE).- Taliban fighters have gained momentum in their military advances towards provinces previously considered relatively safe under the control of the Afghan security forces.
Officials said the insurgents had captured new district centers in at least two of these provinces – Nangarhar in the east and Herat in the west.
The Taliban had not made any significant territorial gains in the two provinces in two months of heavy fighting.
After weeks of clashes in the eastern Nangarhar province, the security forces withdrew on Monday afternoon from the center of Hesarak, a strategically critical provincial district, an official told EFE, requesting anonymity.
The insurgents also captured Chishti Sharif and Ghoryan districts in the western Herat province.
Herat governor’s office, in a statement, said that security forces retreated from the district centers to avoid civilian casualties in nearby villages.
Nangarhar governor’s office also confirmed the withdrawal of the security forces from the district center, saying the troops relocated to a safer place.
“To prevent casualties among the civilians, whose houses were used by Taliban as fighting positions, the headquarters of the Hesarak district is relocated from its original position to a better place,” the Nangarhar governor’s office said in a statement.
The Taliban also captured two districts in western Badghis province and one in northeastern Badakhshan province over the past day.
Taliban spokespersons in statements confirmed the capture of the six districts.
They claimed that Taliban fighters seized several military vehicles, weapons, and ammunition from these districts.
The defense ministry, in a statement, said that 261 Taliban fighters died and 206 got injured in the last 24 hours during fierce gun battles in 12 of the 34 Afghan provinces.
The Taliban on Monday told EFE that its fighters focused on capturing roads and districts of Afghanistan, ruling out the possibility of taking control of provincial capitals to avoid civilian casualties.
In the past two months, the Taliban have advanced rapidly in the territory, capturing more than 100 of the 407 Afghan districts.
The Taliban have gained control of such large swathes of territory for the first time in the two decades of war.
The advance of the Taliban coincides with the final phase of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, which began on May 1 and is to complete by August end. EFE