Taliban gains control of southeastern Afghan district after week of fighting
Taliban militants. (AFP/File)
Click here to add Afghan National Army as an alert
Disable alert for Afghan National Army,
Click here to add Omna as an alert
Disable alert for Omna,
Click here to add Taliban as an alert
Disable alert for Taliban,
Click here to add Zabihullah Mujahid as an alert
Disable alert for Zabihullah Mujahid
The Omna district of southeastern Paktika collapsed to the Taliban on Sunday after five day of continued fighting, an official said.
A security official, requesting not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Pajhwok Afghan News the district had been under siege for the past five days.
“The Afghan National Army (ANA) and special unit personnel reached the Nawa area of the district but couldn’t advance. Later on, they beat a tactical retreat,” the source said.
He added security forces’ retreat from the area allowed the insurgents to overrun the district. “With the fighters having planted landmines on roads, soldiers fled the district using sub-streets, leaving behind their pick-upvehicles and military equipment.”
Former provincial council candidate and resident of Omna district, Bawar Khan, confirmed the entire district was under Taliban’s control. Over the past few days, there has been continued fighting,which subsided on Saturday night with the collapse of the district.
But Niamatullah Babari, a sitting provincial council member, said fierce clashes were underway in the district, which had been cut off from the central government. He, however, was unaware whether the district had fallen or was still controlled by the government.
Meanwhile, the governor’s spokesman denied the town’s fall and said only a check post had been seized by the insurgent. He said reinforcements had reached the area and the checkpoint would be retaken soon.
Taliban claimed overrunning the district, with their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the fighters had taken complete control of the town. He said seven soldiers were killed and another five injured.
Four fighters were also killed and five others injured during the five-day fighting, he acknowledged. Six Ranger pick-ups and other weapons and ammunition were also seized, he added.
Omna districtis situated 45km west of Sharan, the provincial capital.
By Rahim Khan Khoshal