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Battle rages as Taliban storm provincial town

AT News

KABUL: Taliban fighters attacked the Qala-e-Naw city the provincial capital of the least-developed province of Badghis in the northwest on Wednesday.

There were conflicting statements from local officials. Provincial Governor Hesamuddin Shams on Wednesday before noon admitted that Taliban have all six districts and the battle was going on at the outskirts of Qala-e-Naw city.

He said that all government offices and military bases were shifted and the conflict was going on inside the city.

But later afternoon, Shams was quoted by the TOLO News as saying that the Taliban have been “pushed back from several parts of the city.”  and that “security forces are advancing.” 

“I assure you that all our security forces, including the special forces, are defending the city of Qala-e-Naw. The enemy is now engaging us in a number of parts of the city. They (the Taliban) suffered both casualties and a defeat,” he said. 

Meanwhile, media reports said that Taliban captured provincial prison and freed all the people held there including hundreds of their comrades.

Videos went viral on social media showing Taliban fighters on motorbikes inside the Qala-e-Naw city.

Interior Ministry said that there are enough number of defense and security forces in the city to push the attackers back.

Taliban did not immediately comment on attacking the Qala-e-Naw city, but said that some 200 government forces and officials in Badghis joined them.

Abdul Aziz Baig, head of provincial council also confirmed that a large number of government troops joined Taliban.

The insurgent group claimed taking control of areas in different provinces on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar had said Tuesday that Taliban have taken 80 districts, the first statement by a senior government official since Taliban intensified attacks on government institutions in May after the US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of their soldiers from the country after 20 years that is called Washington’s longest war.

The militants claim of having 160 districts under control.

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