Faryab governor denies Khwaja Musa fell to Taliban
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The governor on Wednesday rejected as “rumor” the falling of Khwaja Musa area of Pashtunkot district of northern Faryab province to the Taliban.
A day earlier, local official sources said the rebels staged a comeback after being driven from Khwaja Musa area by security forces spearheaded by First Vice-President General Abdul Rashid Dostum and recaptured the area.
But Governor Syed Anwar Sadat on Wednesday told a press conference in the provincial capital, Maimana, rejected the fall of Khwaja Musa area to Taliban as a baseless claim.
He said the insurgents had sustained heavy casualties during the security operations led by Dostum in Khwaja Sabz Posh and Pashtunkot districts.
He said dozens of insurgents had been killed in Khwaja Sabz Posh district where another 120 Taliban fighters had surrendered.
The governor said 50 Taliban including key commanders Mullah Noorul Haq and others were killed in Pashtunkot district and more than 90 others wounded.
He said the rebels had been pushed 18 kilometres back from north of Maimana city.
He said the Dostum-supervised operations were not aimed at capturing the bazaar of Khwaja Musa but to set up security posts and a security belt around the provincial capital, something which had been done.
He said the Khwaja Musa bazaar was located in the middle of a buffer zone and insurgents who were driven as a result of the operations had returned back to the bazaar.
About the displaced families, the governor said families who fled homes due to the conflict had returned to their previous homes and the department concerned had been directed to provide them assistance.
But a tribal elder, who wished anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News after security forces led by Dostum after capturing Khwaja Musa area set up security posts in Dingi Kala, Jar Kala, Gudai Kala and some others.
But the forces left as directed by Dostum and this allowed the fleeing insurgents to stage a comeback and recapture the lost areas, the elder said.
He said now the Taliban were in control of the bazaar and all villages and security forces were in control of high altitude areas.
He said residents of these areas were concerned about their safety and many families had either left or were planning to leave their homes for Maimana.
A Taliban spokesman Qari Youaf Ahmadi claimed the fighters had recaptured Khwaja Musa and nearby villages and security forces after sustaining heavy losses had retreated to Jar Kala area.
But a local Taliban commander said security forces left the area without any clashes with insurgents and they suffered no casualties.
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