Security forces advancing in Baghlan: Ministry

KABUL (Tolo News): Security forces are advancing in Baghlan where commando forces have arrived to help other troops in the battle against the Taliban in the northern province, the Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

Shafiullah Mohammadi, a special forces commander in Baghlan, said the security forces have “pushed back” Taliban attacks in Baghlan-e-Markazi district and Dahana-e-Ghori area on the outskirts of Pul-e-Khumri city. The Defense Ministry said that the new commando forces deployed to Baghlan have been stationed in Pul-e-Khumri city and have started clearance operations in areas under Taliban influence.

“The enemy has had 100 casualties in the fight against the national police, the NDS, and the army forces. Their casualties have increased with the arrival of the commando forces last night and the operation will continue,” Mohammadi said. The commando forces commander said he assures the people of Afghanistan, especially the Baghlan residents, that “security forces are fully ready to defend the people against any threats.”

Local officials and residents have said that the highways connecting Baghlan with Takhar and Kunduz provinces in northern and northeastern Afghanistan have been closed to traffic for the last two days due to recent clashes. Officials said civilians are traveling through subways that are mostly under Taliban influence. Taliban has not commented on the claims.

Some MPs from Baghlan said that the Taliban attacked the Dahana-e-Ghori area in Pul-e-Khumri city. The MPs said that a group of security forces left two bases in Baghlan-e-Markazi district and “surrendered” to the Taliban. The lawmakers also said that at least 50 soldiers stationed in the two bases retreated from the area. The Ministry of Defense rejected the surrender of the troops, but the Taliban claimed that at least 200 soldiers along with their weapons had surrendered to the group in Baghlan-e-Markazi district of Baghlan.