20 Provinces Witness Clashes As More Areas Fall To Taliban

Kabul: In more disturbing news coming in from Afghanistan, local officials confirmed that Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak province fell to the Taliban on Friday, but the Interior Ministry described it as a “tactical retreat”. This is yet another district which was captured by the Taliban and this comes even as the withdrawal of international troops continue in full swing.

Representatives of Maidan Wardak province say the fall of Jalriz is dangerous for the central regions of Afghanistan, including Bamyan province.
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However, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) called the fall of Jalriz district a “tactical retreat” and stressed that security forces had “tactically retreated” from the district.

Khalil-ur-Rehman Yadegari, Jalriz district governor, said that the district building was completely under Taliban control and added that one civilian and 21 soldiers were killed in the clashes.

The casualties of the Taliban have not yet been determined. “The district and command police of Jalriz district are now in the hands of the Taliban,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, wrote in a message to the media. He also claimed to have acquired several military-mediated vehicles and some weapons and ammunition.

Meanwhile, Mahdi Rasekh, the representative of Maidan Wardak people in the House of Representatives, confirmed the fall of Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak to the Taliban and said that 69 security and defense forces with their equipment and hundreds of weapons had surrendered to this group.

The MP in the House of Representatives briefly accused the security agencies of insisting that the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior ignored the voices of Jalrez soldiers and did not send them help. Rasekh wrote on his Facebook page, “Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak has been under complete siege by the Taliban for more than two years and there has been continuous and intense fighting for the last three days and nights. But they did not help, the soldiers and district officials made their last efforts and sacrifices; “But ammunition, livelihoods and aid did not arrive. The central government is responsible for the fall of Jalrez.”

Sharifullah Hotak, a member of the Maidan Wardak provincial council, also confirmed that security forces had been under siege in the district for five days; but they did not receive any help, and at 9am on Friday, the district fell to the Taliban.

Defense Ministry spokesperson Ruhollah Ahmadzai did not say anything about the fall of Jalrez, but stressed that the Taliban were in control of parts of the district. “There is a regular plan of security and defense agencies in Maidan Wardak province, especially in Jalriz district,” Ahmadzai said.

Meanwhile, Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, tweeted that 10 militants had been killed in an airstrike on a Taliban compound. At 10:48am today, 10 terrorists were killed in an airstrike on a terrorist gathering place in Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak.

The defense and security forces continue their air and ground operations against terrorists in Jalrez. “Jalriz will be cleared of terrorists.”

Currently in about 20 provinces including Baghlan, Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni, Laghman, Maidan Wardak and a number of other provinces, fierce clashes continue between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban, with heavy casualties reported on both sides.

Even in the south of the country, clashes continue. Five policemen and seven Taliban militants were killed during armed clashes at a police station in Afghanistan’s southern province of Zabul on Thursday night.

“The militants armed with guns and rocket propelled grenades stormed a police station in Shahr-i-Safa district at midnight, triggering clashes which lasted for hours,” Zabul Provincial Council Chief Ata Jan Haqbayan said. A senior police officer in-charge of a police command in the district was among the killed.

In Helmand too, nine family members were killed when a car they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb. The provincial command of the Afghan National Police in Helmand said that the incident took place in the provincial capital Lashkargah during the morning rush hour.

As per the Afghan army in Helmand, at least 76 Taliban, including six top militant commanders, were killed during air and ground offensives in the past 24 hours.

The east of the country also isn’t peaceful. According to the defense ministry, the security forces went on a “strategic retreat” in Dawlat Shah district in Laghman province to avoid civilian casualties amid mounting Taliban onslaught. The Taliban, however, claimed to have overrun this key district in a province neighboring the capital.

Taliban insurgents also launched attacks in a district of eastern Afghanistan where local elders had brokered a one-month ceasefire, dashing hopes of a temporary truce, residents and officials said on Friday. “The Taliban could not keep their promise, they started attacks against Afghan security forces checkpoints,” said Malik Wares, a tribal elder in Laghman province’s Alingar district. The head of Laghman’s provincial council said the fighting had started late on Thursday and the Taliban had also captured another district in the province.

Meanwhile, a Taliban attack on Farah’s Parchman district was countered on Friday night, killing four people. Farah police spokesperson said that armed Taliban insurgents attacked the security checkpoints of Midanak in Parchman district of Farah province.
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He added that four armed Taliban were killed in the clashes.

Deadly violence returned to Afghanistan after a brief three-day Eid ceasefire.

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