Taliban claim capturing military base in Paktia
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The Taliban on Saturday claimed capturing a large military base in the Zurmat district of southeastern Paktia province, but security officials said the base had been intentionally vacated.
Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a large headquarters of security forces had been captured by the fighters in Kolago area of Zurmat district.
“We captured the base after a series of attacks. Now a white Taliban flag waves on the base,” he said, adding the insurgents had started efforts to capture the district headquarters after seizing the base.
But Paktia police chief Brig. Gen. Qadar Gul Zadran said security forces had tactically retreated from the base.
He said the president had ordered that in areas where security posts were not required should be packed up and installed in other areas and the Kolago was one such area.
He said no clash had taken place between security forces and insurgents in the Kolago area.
A resident of the area, Bismillah, told Pajhwok Afghan News that security forces on Saturday left the base and the Taliban captured it.
“When the security forces left the base and started moving towards the district centre, the Taliban attacked them and later they erected their white flag on the base.”
The resident said the Taliban had previously many times mounted attacks on the same base.
Zurmat is 40km west of Gardez, the provincial capital, and Kolago area borders Ghazni province.
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