Afghanistan: third district in Badakhshan province falls to Taliban

KABUL (TCA) — The Taliban has taken over Kohistan district of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province which borders Tajikistan, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported on May 3.

The Taliban had surrounded the district for the past two days. Local officials said the district fell to the group at around 9pm local on Thursday because of the lack of reinforcement troops needed, said Abdul Rahman Talat, a member of Badakhshan provincial council.

The district collapsed after fierce battles between the Taliban and the government forces, he said, adding that the two sides sustained heavy casualties.

Kohistan is now the third district in the province under the grip of the Taliban.

The Taliban have also launched major offensives on Tashkan, Raghistan and Shuhada districts of the province over the past four days.

The Taliban have controlled Badakhshan’s Wardoj and Yamgan districts for four years.

In the meantime, the U.S. government’s watchdog on Afghanistan says the number of Afghan security forces has decreased by nearly 11 percent during the past year as security in the country has deteriorated, RFE/RL reported.

In a quarterly report to the U.S. Congress that was released on May 1, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the number of troops in the Afghan National Defense and Security forces (ANDSF) totaled an estimated 296,400 people in January.

That was a drop of 10.6 percent compared to the same month in 2017.

The authorized strength of the ANDSF is 334,000 — including personnel in the army, air force, and police.

SIGAR says the Afghan government now controls only about 56 percent of the country’s territory.

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Times of Central Asia