Afghan officials: Taliban gain control of a district HQ

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban gained control on Tuesday of a strategic district headquarters in a province in central Afghanistan, just southwest of the capital of Kabul, a provincial council official said.

According to the official, Sharifullah Hotak, the Taliban overran the Nirkh district headquarters in Maidan Wardak province. The insurgents confirmed the significant battlefield success.

The insurgents have long held sway in the area, but the collapse of the district headquarters doesn’t bode well for embattled Afghan security forces as U.S. and NATO troops begin their final withdrawal from the country, after 20 years of war.

Nirkh district is important because it runs along the central highway that links Kabul to southern Kandahar province, a Taliban heartland. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement saying the insurgent group seized the district, confiscating weapons and military equipment.

The district collapse comes ahead of a Taliban-announced, three-day cease fire over the Eid-al-Fitr holidays marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan this week.

The Taliban also released more than 100 government prisoners from across the country, said Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen. The prisoner release was also to commemorate the Eid holidays, he said.

The last of America’s 2,500-3,500 troops and about 7,000 allied NATO forces are to be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11 at the latest. Their departure has stoked fears of quick territorial gains by the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said the retreat in Maidan Wardak was a tactical decision and that he expected the Afghan security forces to retake the headquarters.
Read more on Toronto Star
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
KABUL—The Taliban destroyed highway bridges southwest of Kabul during a wide ranging assault on security forces, cutting off road traffic between the capital and three provinces for most of the day...
KABUL A Taliban suicide bomber slammed into a NATO convoy near the Afghan capital, killing two civilians and injuring five Czech troops, Afghan officials and the Czech military said...
KABUL—Hundreds of people have fled four days of fierce fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban over the key provincial capital of Ghazni that has killed about 120 security forces...
The district centre of Nerkh in Maidan Wardak province, the police headquarters, the intelligence department and a large army base there were all captured, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on...
KABUL—A co ordinated Taliban assault on a military base and police training centre in eastern Afghanistan on Monday morning killed at least 12 and wounded over 30 people, provincial officials said....