Eastern district of Afghanistan overrun by Taliban militants

Published August 28th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
The Taliban said it was now in full control of Janikhail with spokesman Zabihullah claiming that the group had seized weapons, ammunition and military vehicles. (AFP/File)
The Taliban said it was now in full control of Janikhail with spokesman Zabihullah claiming that the group had seized weapons, ammunition and military vehicles. (AFP/File)

Spokesman for the governor of Paktia province said Saturday that the militants managed to capture Janikhail district headquarters following heavy clashes with police.

He said at least five police officers were killed and five others were wounded in the fighting, adding that security forces withdrew from the area to prevent civilian casualties.

Other sources said more than 20 soldiers and police forces were killed and another 20 wounded in the fighting, which erupted overnight. They said some 200 Taliban militants were also killed although there was no immediate report verifying the casualties.

Abdul Rahman Solamal, governor of Janikhail, said the district had been surrounded by Taliban for almost five days.

"Hundreds of them attacked our check posts overnight," he said, adding, "If we do not retake it soon then Taliban can easily move from one province to another and can undermine security in at least three provinces."

Taliban have launched numerous offensives to capture urban areas in Afghanistan over the past months. The group has largely been concentrated on areas in the northeast although several attacks have also been carried out near the provincial capital of the southern province of Helmand.

Janikhail is strategically located as it sits at an intersection linking eight districts. It also connects Paktia with neighboring Khost province and Pakistan.

Taliban said it was now in full control of Janikhail with spokesman Zabihullah claiming that the group had seized weapons, ammunition and military vehicles.

Report say the control or influence of Afghan forces on the national territory has reduced to 66 percent from over 70 percent at the start of 2016. That has been mainly due to the fact that Taliban have stepped up the summer offensive while security forces have time and again pulled back from exposed areas to concentrate their strength.


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