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Afghan Troops Counter Taliban Offensive In North

  • RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

Afghan militias and policemen gather during a battle with Taliban militants in the Chardara district of Kunduz Province last month.

Afghan militias and policemen gather during a battle with Taliban militants in the Chardara district of Kunduz Province last month.

Security forces in northern Afghanistan say they are preparing to launch a counteroffensive against Taliban militants after government troops took control of a district in the country’s northeast.

The Interior Ministry announced on June 21 that government forces regained control of Yamgan district in the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

The sparsely populated district fell into Taliban hands early this month.

Badakhshan's police chief, General Baba Jan, said a member of the security forces was killed and four others injured in the battle with the militants.

He also said more than 100 rebels were killed or wounded.

"We have deployed enough forces in the district and a clearance operation is ongoing to wipe up the area from insurgent threats," Baba Jan added.

The Taliban confirmed that they had lost most of the district.

In the northern province of Kunduz, provincial police chief Abdul Sabor Nasrati said the government was rushing reinforcements to Chardara district, which was seized on June 20 by Taliban fighters.

Local official Muhammad Yusuf Ayubi said 12 soldiers died and 17 were wounded in hours of fighting against the militants.

The district lies to the west of the provincial capital, Kunduz City.

RFE/RL’s correspondent in Kunduz reports that the Kunduz River, about 5 kilometers west of the provincial capital, now forms a strategically important natural boundary between the militants and government-controlled territory.

The Taliban also holds positions in the Gul Tepe area on the northwest side of the provincial capital.

Taliban and Central Asian militants launched an offensive in Kunduz Province in April after massing up to 2,000 fighters.

Many of the militants infiltrated northern Afghanistan during the past year after fleeing a Pakistan Army offensive in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area.

Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban largely alone following the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops last year.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa
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