Afghan army drives out Taliban in western town, reports say

Smoke rises from houses during fighting in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis province, July 7, 2021

Heavy fighting reportedly took place in Qala-e-Naw all day

Afghan troops have taken over government buildings in a western town that has been attacked by the Taliban, officials said.

On Wednesday, the Taliban entered Qala-e-Naw, the first direct assault on a provincial capital since the United States began withdrawing its last troops.

Airstrikes were used and special forces deployed to push back the fighters, the Reuters news agency said.

The Taliban have made gains as the United States and its allies pull out.

“The enemy suffered heavy casualties and now we are advancing and chasing the enemy,” Special Forces Commander Sayed Nezami said, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said the town had been cleared of Taliban fighters and was now fully under the control of Afghan security forces, according to a report by the Khaama Press news agency.

A report by Tolo also quoted the governor of the province as saying that the Taliban had been “driven back from several parts of the city”.

The vast majority of foreign forces remaining in Afghanistan left before the September 11 deadline, leaving the Afghan army fully responsible for national security.

Free prisoners

Taliban fighters briefly entered Qala-e-Naw in Badghis province on Wednesday.

Local sources told the BBC that the activists had gained access to the city jail and released around 400 detainees, including more than 100 of their own fighters. The Afghan forces guarding the prison reportedly surrendered without a fight.

At the time, Provincial Governor Hisamudin Shams said the headquarters of the intelligence service had been set on fire.

But he denied reports that the city fell to the Taliban, and said Afghan troops were defending it. The governor told Reuters militants attacked the city from three directions in the morning.



The Taliban have seized dozens of districts in recent weeks and are now believed to control around a third of the country, making new gains every day. So far, the provincial capitals have remained under government control.

As part of a deal with the Taliban, the United States and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all of their troops in exchange for the militants’ pledge to prevent extremist groups from operating in areas that they ‘they control.

But the Taliban did not agree to stop fighting the Afghan forces, whose ability to repel the insurgents is in question.

Military officials in Kabul have spoken of a “tactical retreat” whenever insurgents gain traction, but battlefield commanders have told the BBC of a lack of ammunition and delays in sending support .

Fleeing Afghan troops

Neighboring countries are bracing for a potential influx of refugees if the fighting continues to escalate.

Iran’s foreign minister, who shares a border with Afghanistan, said the United States had failed in Afghanistan and its presence had caused significant damage to the country. Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking in Tehran during a meeting between an Afghan delegation and representatives of the Taliban.

President Ashraf Ghani insists Afghan security forces are quite capable of keeping insurgents at bay, but more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled the border into Tajikistan in recent days, and there have also been reports of more soldiers seeking refuge in Pakistan and Uzbekistan to escape the fighting.

Earlier in the week, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the BBC the group was not responsible for the recent increase in violence. He insisted that many districts fell to the Taliban through mediation after Afghan soldiers refused to fight.

For the Afghan people, this is a worrying time. The Taliban, who have been accused of various human and cultural rights violations, support sanctions such as public executions of convicted murderers – as well as bans on television, music and movies, and frown on girls’ education over 10 years old.

US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001. The group housed Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda figures linked to the September 11 attacks in the United States that sparked the invasion. However, it has gradually regained territory in recent years.

An Afghan security official stands guard during a ceremony in which people from different political parties distributed gifts and souvenirs to Afghan forces to encourage them to fight for the country, in Herat, Afghanistan, July 5, 2021.

Afghan forces struggle to keep Taliban at bay

The Taliban began direct talks with the United States in 2018, and President Joe Biden said the American withdrawal was justified because American forces ensured that Afghanistan could not become a base for the jihadists. foreigners are once again plotting against the West.

Many observers question this claim.

On Tuesday it was reported that the US military left Bagram airfield – its key base in Afghanistan – overnight without notifying the Afghans.

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