Taliban seize Afghanistan district centre, attack army base

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 28, 2018, 09.02 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Taliban fighters seized a district centre in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, while a bomb at an army base in the southern province of Helmand killed at least five people.

The latest violence came as insurgents pushed ahead with a spring offensive.

Fighters captured the governor’s house and police headquarters in Aq Tapa, in the Qala-e Zal district of Kunduz province and Afghan government forces were fighting to drive them out, said Sayed Assadullah Sadat, a provincial council member.

The Taliban’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters had captured a police headquarters, 10 security check posts and a market in Qala-e Zal, north of Kunduz city.

At the other end of the country, in Helmand, insurgents launched a vehicle bomb attack on a military base in Nad Ali district, killing four civilians and a soldier, according to a statement from the provincial governor’s office.

The Taliban announced the official start of their annual spring offensive this week, continuing the heavy fighting seen across Afghanistan recently as warmer weather has set in.

Meanwhile, the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani criticized the Taliban’s spring operation and called it baseless. Ghani also said that all Taliban do not want to fight, but that it’s the minority of Taliban that have forced the majority of Taliban to fight.

Last year, the United States announced a more aggressive strategy with stepped up air strikes and more assistance to Afghan government forces fighting the insurgency, drawing a defiant response from the Taliban, who said they would target American forces in the spring campaign.

The fighting may threaten preparations for parliamentary and district council elections planned in October.

In the eastern province of Nangarhar, a rocket fired by Taliban fighters hit a house in the Hoodi area of Goshta district on Friday night. Five civilians were killed and three were injured.

Six Taliban militants, including a bomb making expert, were killed in a nighttime operation by intelligence officials in the Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Friday.

The special National Directorate of Security or NDS forces conducted the operation in Adwar area last night, the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said the six slain rebels included Zarin, a bomb making expert. The security forces also confiscated two Kalashnikovs, one walkie-talkie and five magazines besides destroying some explosives.