Afghan forces capture Taliban bastion

Kabul: Afghan forces in Kunduz province bordering Tajikistan, captured the Taliban’s bastion in Dasht-e-Archi district on Wednesday, forcing the militants to flee, district governor Nasirudin Saadi said.

“The security forces after fierce fighting captured Dasht-e-Archi district. The militants fled leaving several bodies behind,” Xinhua quoted Saadi as saying.

All government offices including the district headquarters have been cleared of insurgents and the local authorities resumed their duties, the official added.

Over 40 Taliban militants were killed and a house-to-house search is on to locate the insurgents, Saadi said.

Dasht-e-Archi had served as the Taliban’s main bastion in the northern provinces of Afghanistan over the past two years, from where the militant group had organised its operations in Kunduz and neighbouring Baghlan and Takhar provinces.

General Murad Ali Murad, the commander of the Afghan forces in Kunduz, on Wednesday said the militants have been wiped out from all villages in Dasht-e-Archi district, adding his forces would pursue armed insurgents elsewhere to kill or capture the enemies.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militants overran Darqad district in the neighbouring Takhar province on Wednesday.

“Militants after launching attack overnight captured Darqad district at 4 a.m. (local time), forcing government forces to retreat,” Takhar provincial police spokesman Abdul Khalil Asir said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who claims to speak for the Taliban and is in contact with the media, said the militants captured Darqad district after killing 12 police personnel.