The Afghan army on Friday deployed special units to the key northern Baghlan province amid intense clashes with the Taliban causing casualties on both sides.
The Defense Ministry in the capital Kabul said joint forces of the army and police, as well as special forces, launched a counter-terrorism operation in Baghlan, which sits on a key artery connecting Kabul with the rest of the country’s northern provinces.
“The enemy has had 100 casualties in the fight against the national police, the NDS [intelligence agency], and the army forces,” Shafiullah Mohammadi, the commander of the special units told local Tolo News.
“Their casualties have increased with the arrival of the commando forces last night and the operation will continue.”
The news comes a day after local media reported that the Taliban overran at least eight police checkpoints and two bases in the area.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that all regions in the central Baghlan and peripheries are under their control.
“200 troopers & police including key commanders joined Mujahideen, numerous APCs (armored personnel carrier) & vehicles along with a sizable amount of heavy/light weapons, ammunition & other equipment seized,” he said on Twitter.
Mounting clashes between the Taliban and Afghan forces on Wednesday saw the insurgents overrunning Borka in Baghlan.
Elsewhere, flared-up clashes have been raging in Ghazni, Paktika, Kunduz, Herat, and Faryab, forcing hundreds of residents to flee their homes.
Amid stalled peace negotiations, Afghanistan has been witnessing intensifying fighting since US President Joe Biden on April 16 announced the withdrawal of US troops from the country, this September.
US To Train Afghan Forces
The United States is considering training Afghan security forces in another country after its troop withdrawal is complete later this year, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ll also continue to look at training them in perhaps another location,” Milley said during a press conference at the Defense Department.
Milley emphasized that the United States will continue to provide logistics and financial support to Afghan security forces following the US exit from Afghanistan.
The US Central Command estimates that the United States has completed between 2 percent to 6 percent of the entire withdrawal process.
Milley said the United States has pulled out about 60 C-17 plane loads of equipment from Afghanistan and marked more than 1,300 pieces of equipment that will be destroyed. Moreover, the United States has formally handed over the US base Camp Antonik in Helmand, Afghanistan, to the Afghan National Army, he added.
The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan began last week, following the original May 1 deadline agreed upon by the United States and the Taliban. A full withdrawal from the country would mark an end to the longest war in US history.