Insight Online News
Kabul, May 25 : Taliban militants have seized three districts over the past weeks amid increasing militancy and counter-militancy in war-torn Afghanistan, local media reported.
In its latest attempt to gain ground, the Taliban militants overrun Jalriz district in Wardak province and Dawlat Shah district in Laghman province, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Taliban militants also captured Burka district in Baghlan province earlier this month in the wake of fierce fighting.
Security officials said that Afghan forces have made “tactical retreat” from the mentioned areas.
Addressing the media on Monday, spokesman for the Defence Ministry Rohullah Ahmadzai blamed the Taliban insurgents for using civilians as human shields and planting mines in the areas to slow down the security forces advance.
Justifying the “tactical retreat” as part of war strategy, Ahmadzai said that the security forces are capable enough to evict the militants from the areas, noting protecting civilians and cleaning mines take time.
Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Yasin Zia visited Laghman’s provincial capital Mehterlam on Monday, saying the militants’ attempts to gain ground had been foiled and the security situation there has been improved.
More than 50 militants were killed and some 60 others injured during clean-up operations in Laghman, the provincial government said in a statement on Monday.
Clean-up operations have also been continuing in Baghlan as some three dozen militants were killed and injured since Sunday in the restive province, an army statement confirmed.
Taliban militants have intensified activities since the start of the US-led forces withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1.
Former Afghan spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil believes that the Taliban has been attempting to take control of highways and tighten noose around Kabul before the completion of the foreign forces pullout, probably in July or September, to secure upper hand at any possible talks with the government.
The intra-Afghan talks in Turkey under the auspices of the United Nations was scheduled in March.
But it has been repeatedly postponed due to Taliban’s reluctance to attend, according to Afghan officials.
IANS / AGENCY