Afghan conflict intensifies amid US forces' withdrawal

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

KABUL, MAY 6 (IANS): The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has further intensified since the start of the withdrawal of the US-led forces from the country on May 1 as the Taliban militants have stepped up activities, officials said.

According to the security officials, the Taliban has intensified activities in Helmand, Zabul, Baghlan, Herat, Farah, Faryab, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces, and scores of militants and security personnel have been killed, reports Xinhua news agency.

Confirming impetus in fighting, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry Fawad Aman told local media on Wednesday that violent incidents have increased over the past three days, adding the Taliban militants have suffered huge casualties.

A total of 20 security personnel and 180 Taliban militants have been killed and 87 more insurgents injured, according to the official.

Fighting has increased since May 1, the day the US administration formally started pulling out its forces from Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has welcomed the foreign forces' withdrawal but blamed the US for violation of the Doha agreement under which Washington was bound to complete the withdrawal on May 1.

Taliban militants attacked security checkpoints and killed nine soldiers in Baghlan-e-Markazi district of northern Baghlan province on Monday night, stormed security checkpoints in the neighboring Burka district on Tuesday, and overran district headquarters early Wednesday.

Police described the district collapse as "tactical retreat" while the Taliban outfit claimed victory and said the district headquarters, police head office and all administrative offices in Burka have been captured.

Taliban militants have been attempting to overrun the key city of Lashkar Gah in the south and neighboring Ghazni and Farah provinces, but failed after suffering huge casualties and leaving 39 bodies behind outside Lashkar Gah, said an army statement on Wednesday.

Mujahid has rejected the claim as groundless, insisting that the armed group has inflicted casualties on government forces, saying 10 government soldiers were killed and 15 others captured in Baghlan province on Monday.


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