Faryab’s Shakh bazaar once again falls to insurgents
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The Shakh bazaar of Qaisar district in northwestern Faryab province has been recaptured by the Taliban as Afghan forces remain besieged, an official said acknowledged on Monday.
The Shakh area containing a population of 20,000, had been under the Taliban control for the past three years. However, it was recently retaken by Afghan forces as a result of an operation last month.
Local officials said Shakh bazaar, sharing borders with Badghis and Ghor provinces, had been a flourishing arms and drug bazaar as long as it stayed under Taliban’s control.
On Saturday night, the insurgents attacked the bazaar and seized it again, said the Qaisar district’s administrative chief. Rahmatullah Qaisari confirmed the militants had seized both new and old bazaars. Fighting is still underway.
Qaisari told Pajhwok Afghan News two Afghan Local Police (ALP) members were killed, four others wounded and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers besieged by militants.
“If reinforcements don’t arrive in time, Qaisar district center -- 25 kilometres from Shakh bazaar -- will also fall to militants,” he warned, seeking urgent action to wrest back control of the area from the Taliban.
Provincial council head Syed Abdul Baqi Hashemi said militants from neighbouring provinces also took part in the battle for the Shakh bazaar. Three ALP personnel and an ANA soldier were killed and 11 others injured during the offensive.
Taliban destroyed a military tank and two pick-ups and seized another Ranger vehicle, he said, warning Qaisar and Almar districts could also fall to the militants if the government did not take swift measures against the rebels.
A day earlier, the Khwaja Gauhar area of Almar district and Ghora area of Qaisar also fell to the Taliban. At least 10 rebels, three security personnel and a child were killed in the clashes.
Few days ago, Khwaja Kinti and Chaharshanbi bazaar of Faryab were controlled by militants.
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