Taliban overrun two districts in Afghanistan: Reports
The Taliban militants have reportedly taken control of two districts in Afghanistan after heavy clashes that claimed the lives of at least eight police officers.
Abdul Karim Yourish, a provincial police spokesman, said the first assault took place on the Lawlash District government headquarters in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab Province under the cover of darkness late on Saturday, leaving two police officers dead.
Local officials confirmed the district’s fall to the Taliban on Sunday and said that security forces were battling the militants to recapture the area.
The Taliban also separately stormed a second district headquarters in the western Afghan Ghor Province and killed six policemen.
Mohammad Mustafa Moseni, the provincial police chief, said his forces retreated after the militants launched multiple assaults on the Taywara district headquarters.
Reports said security forces and local residents in the area, including a member of parliament, were still under siege by the Taliban.
Search operation launched for kidnapped villagers
Meanwhile, Afghan security forces launched a search and rescue operation in the southern province of Kandahar on Sunday, two days after at least 70 civilians were kidnapped by suspected Taliban militants.
Provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani said the bodies of at least seven of the abductees had been found near the city of Kandahar.
Around 30 people were released, while 30 others were still missing and their fate remained unclear, he added.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction, but police suspect that Taliban militants were behind the kidnapping.
Insecurity has gripped Afghanistan since 2001, when the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
Over the past 16 years, the Taliban militants have been conducting terrorist attacks across the country, killing and displacing civilians. In addition, the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has recently managed to take recruits from Afghan Taliban defectors.