Militants 'Capture District Headquarters' In Afghan Province


During the past few months, Taliban militants have battled government security forces fiercely in Afghanistan's western province of Farah bordering Iran.

Afghan officials say government forces have retaken control of a district headquarters in western Afghanistan that was briefly seized by Taliban militants.

This comes after President Ashraf Ghani laid out a new peace offer to the Taliban two weeks ago.

"The [Taliban] fighters attacked the district offices early in the morning from different directions and have taken over the offices", Dadullah Qane, a member of the provincial council, told Al Jazeera.

Fared Bakhtawer, the head provincial council in Farah, said Monday that initial information shows around 15 security forces were killed and wounded in the fighting at the Anardara district headquarters. Air strikes had killed 56 insurgent fighters, he said.

The attack came just days after 18 Afghan security force officers, including eight members of the Afghan special forces and 10 policemen, were killed in an overnight Taliban attack during a joint operation in the same province.

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In the eastern province of Nangarhar, seven civilians, including three children and two women, were reported killed late on March 11 when their vehicle was hit by a grenade or a rocket.

The victims are all members of a single family, Khogyani added.

Both the Taliban and rival militants from a branch of the so-called Islamic State regularly attack local officials and security forces in Nangarhar Province.

In January, the governor of Farah resigned, blaming political interference and corruption.

Although they have failed to take any major provincial cities, the insurgents have several times seized district centers, even if they have often been driven off soon after by government reinforcements. Residents of Farah city have complained bitterly about security in the province, where some police units are alleged to collude with Taliban fighters, selling them weapons and ammunition.