Taliban militants have seized control of an army base in northern Afghanistan, killing and capturing dozens of government soldiers.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Taliban militants have seized control of an army base in northern Afghanistan, killing and capturing dozens of government soldiers.
The fall of Camp Chenaya in the Ghormach district of Faryab province late Monday followed two days of intense fighting. Officials say the Afghan National Army (ANA) base was lost after soldiers failed to receive reinforcements and air support, and ran out of ammunition and other supplies.
Regional military and government officials Tuesday confirmed that 40 of the 70 soldiers stationed at the base surrendered to the Taliban. They said the rest have either been killed or fled to nearby mountains during the clashes.
The capture of Camp Chenaya comes as Afghan security forces regained control of the southeastern strategic city of Ghazni following days of deadly fighting with the Taliban.
The Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Jawed Ghafoor, said that security forces have cleared the central parts of the city of insurgents and that cleanup operations were underway on the outskirts of Ghazni.
Separately, provincial governor Waheedullah Kalemzai, confirmed to VOA by phone that insurgents have been flushed out of the capital city. “Afghan security forces currently are conducting clearing operations in four areas of the city and life is returning to normalcy in Ghazni.”
There was no immediate reaction available from the Taliban.
Army officials have confirmed the killing of 100 Afghan soldiers and police personnel as well as 30 civilians since the Taliban assaulted the city on Friday, though local media gave much higher numbers of fatalities among government forces.
Defense Minister Gen. Tariq Shah Bahrami said Monday soldiers backed by allied airstrikes killed nearly 200 insurgents, including Arab, Chechen and Pakistani nationals.
U.N. officials said they were still trying to verify reports that the fighting for the control of Ghazni has resulted in up to 150 civilian casualties.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid swiftly rejected the official claims, saying insurgents have surrounded Afghan forces in parts of the city.
It was not possible to independently confirm the claims. Insurgents often issue inflated details about their battlefield gains.
The provincial capital is located on the main highway linking northern and southern Afghan provinces, including the national capital of Kabul. The fighting had brought traffic to a halt, stranding thousands of passengers for the past five days.
Hostilities in Ghazni have disrupted telecommunication services, making it nearly impossible to verify conflicting claims about the fighting.