Conflicting claims of Taliban sway in Baghlan
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Officials in Baghlan-i-Markazi district of northern Baghlan province said the district had been cleared of insurgents but members of provincial council said Taliban had still sway in several areas.
Maj. Gen. Asadullah Sherzad, the Ministry of Interior special unit commander, said Baghlan-i-Markazi had been purged of militants two days back and Dand-i-Ghori locality in the vicinity of provincial capital was cleared on Wednesday.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News that last month more than 85 insurgents were killed, 91 injured and 25 more detained in last month offensive. He added insurgents were flushed out of as many as 145 villages.
Sherzai said three military centres fallen to Taliban in Ahmadzai, Joy Naw and Aqsai in Dand-i-Ghor, were retaken by security forces.
Three security forces personnel lost their lives and nine others wounded in the operations, he added.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 12 security forces have been killed by a mortar strike near Pul-i-Khumri and 17 others wounded.
Acting Governor Sultan Mohammad Abedi praised security forces for clearing several parts of anti-state elements. He said the enemy had suffered heavy casualties and did not have the potential to return to the province.
More than 1,600 families have reportedly been displaced due to month-long anti-insurgents operations in the province.
Mohammad Safdar Mohsini, provincial council head, said based on his information security forces had retreated from Dand-i-Ghori and Taliban once again had staged comeback.
He criticized local officials for not having any coordination with provincial council, saying the government should answer to people as to why they have left the area. “The ambiguous policies of Baghlan officials had added to people’s concerns.”
He added Taliban had returned to the areas and the provincial capital again faced security threats.
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