AT News Report
KABUL: Several other districts could fall to the Taliban if security forces did not retake Janikhel, a strategic district in southeastern Paktia province, residents and public representatives warned on Sunday.
Taliban insurgents took control of Janikhel district on Saturday morning following days of fierce battle between security forces.
Paktia Deputy Provincial Council Head, Janat Khan Mangal, told Pajhwok Afghan News the government should take action as early as possible to retake control of Janikhel district.
“Based on the district’s geographical location, the government will be unable to recapture the district without the help of air forces,” he said.
“Janikhel district had strategic importance for militants, from where they could threaten nearby districts and the region” Mangal added.
The Taliban insurgents were making efforts for the past several years to capture Janikhel district, Pajhwok Afghan News quoted Noorullah, a resident of Dand Patan district, as saying.
“Finally the Taliban insurgents achieved their goal on Saturday,” he added.
“It is a populated and geographically big district, it is surrounded by Dand Patan, Samkani, Laja Mangal and Ahmadkhel districts, if the government does not retake it from militants other districts would also fall,” he said.
However, Paktia Deputy Governor Abdul Wali Sahi, said that militants would be not able to keep the district in their control forever.
“We would try to recapture the district from militants by our air forces as soon as possible,” he said.
“So far there is no military action had been taken to regain the control of Janikhel district, governor’s spokesman, Naqib Ahmad Attal said. But he said an operation was being planned.
Moreover, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in his twitter said that his fighters captured Janikhel district. Dozens of security personnel had been killed and some weapons were also seized.
The Taliban group has changed their war tactics. They increased group attacks in the past one month in different districts. Recently, the Taliban fighters took control of the strategic district of Khanabad in the northern Kunduz province after a several-hour clash.
“Taliban launched attacks and captured police headquarters, center of the district and a number of checkpoints in the district today morning,” said Hayatullah Amiri, the district chief. However, the district was retaken, but, obviously, it left huge property losses to the residents
After the collapse the Afghan security force carried a large-scale military operation and retook the control of Khanabad from Taliban insurgents. More than dozens of the Taliban were killed during clearing operation.
Nearly 38 insurgents were killed and over 20 others injured,” Provincial Police Spokesman Hejratullah Akbari said, adding that the government had retaken the district from the Taliban.