Afghan forces retake district offices from Taliban; 8 killed
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan security forces recaptured a district headquarters in western Farah province on Monday, just hours after the Taliban overrun the police and administrative offices, killing eight policemen, a spokesman said.
The development came as insurgent attacks against security forces have stepped up across Afghanistan, including in Farah province.
In Monday’s assault, the Taliban launched a multi-pronged attack and stormed the district headquarters in Anardara, which they were able to hold on to for a few hours before Afghan reinforcements arrived.
Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, says that along with the eight killed in the assault, 10 security forces were wounded in the morning attack.
“Right now the district headquarters and the area around it are under control of the Afghan security forces,” Rahimi said, adding that “fighting is ongoing in three different parts of the district” as Afghan forces pursue the Taliban.
The Afghan forces also carried out heavy airstrikes during the day in Anardara and more than 50 Taliban fighters were report killed so far, he added.
Fared Bakhtawer, the head of provincial council in Farah, confirmed the developments and said the Taliban have been surrounded in other parts of the district.
“The Afghan forces have warned the Taliban either to surrender or die on the battle field,” said Bakhtawer.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it began, according to a media statement from Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman.
The Anardara attack followed a weekend assault in Bala Buluk district that killed 15 Afghan forces — seven army commandos and eight policemen.
In a separate report, seven civilians — including three children and two women — were killed on Sunday night in eastern Nangarhar province when their vehicle was hit by a grenade, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Khogyani said two other people in the vehicle were wounded in the attack in Bati Kot district. The victims are all members of a single family, he added.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar province.
Associated Press writer Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.