Taliban captures district on Turkmenistan border

Militant group overruns district in northern Afghanistan after clashing with Afghan security forces, local authorities say

Taliban captures district on Turkmenistan border

World Bulletin / News Desk

Taliban militants on Sunday morning overran a district in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province on the border with Turkmenistan after clashing with Afghan security forces, according to local authorities.

Three days ago, the militants attacked the strategic Ghormach district from different directions, according to Naqibullah Faeq, a local official.

“Afghan security forces had to withdraw from the district administration building and outlaying security posts early Sunday morning due to a lack of air support and reinforcements,” said Faeq.

“The police district chief and 60 of his men have since fled to nearby mountains where they remain surrounded by the militants,” he added. “Without reinforcements, all of them will be captured.”

Most district officials, he went on to note, had since taken refuge at a nearby army base.

Taliban militants began launching coordinated attacks on the Ghormach district -- with both light and heavy weapons -- on Friday, reportedly suffering heavy causalities.

“At least 18 Taliban were killed and 20 others injured in the fight that happened on Friday,” Afghan army spokesman Reza Rezaee told Anadolu agency.

He added that some 2,000 domestic and foreign fighters had been recruited from the neighboring Badghis and Ghor provinces for the offensive.

The Ghormach district, which lies on the highway linking northern and western Afghanistan have been attacked repeatedly in recent years.

In an emailed statement, Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi confirmed that the militant group had taken the district.

“The Ghormach district, along with all its administration buildings, was captured by Mujahidin [i.e., Taliban militants], while heavy casualties were inflicted on government troops,” Ahmadi asserted.

Neither Taliban spokesmen nor Afghan government officials, however, could provide exact death tolls.

One local shopkeeper, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Taliban militants had overrun the district -- where they had since torched a number of governmental buildings – “following a brief fight” with Afghan forces.

The U.S. plans to keep a residual force of some 5,500 troops in the country after 2016 to advise and train Afghan national security forces in their ongoing war against the Taliban and the nascent Daesh militant group.

For three days last week, Taliban militants maintained control over the Kabul-Kandahar highway, which links capital Kabul to the country’s south.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ekim 2015, 15:29