Kabul, June 21 (IANS) The Afghan security forces killed at least 120 Taliban militants and regained control of the strategically important Yamgan district in Badakhshan province after days of heavy fighting, the interior ministry said on Sunday.
“Following several days of joint operations of police, army and national directorate for security, Yamgan district was recaptured today and the enemies after suffering huge casualties fled the area,” Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
A number of Taliban key commanders, including Mullah Rustam, Mullah Hashim Kolabi and Mullah Shukrullah, were among those killed during the operations, according to the statement.
Some foreign fighters were among those killed in the clash for Yemgan district, it added.
Yamgan district was captured by Taliban militants two weeks ago, forcing the government forces to retreat.
Earlier, Badakhshan police chief General Baba Jan said the security forces entered Yamgan district at 8:30 a.m. and a cleanup operation was ongoing in the area.
Although Taliban did not acknowledge losing ground in Yamgan district, the armed militant group in a statement claimed they aptured Chardara district in Kunduz province on Saturday night after several hours of heavy fighting with government forces.
The provincial capital city of Kunduz and even the neighbouring Baghlan province would be threatened if Taliban insurgents were able to strengthen their grip in Chardara district, according to political observers.
“Our security forces launched counter-offensive early Sunday to free Chardara district from the clutch of Taliban rebels,” said army spokesperson Major Ghulam Hazrat.
Taliban militants have intensified activities since their spring offensive on April 24 and have conducted series of attacks in various parts of the country, leaving hundreds of people, including militants, security personnel and civilians, dead.