Afghan security forces are trying to recover a strategic neighborhood captured by the Taliban outside the capital, Kabul, just before a three-day ceasefire goes into effect.
Located less than an hour from Kabul, Nerkh district in Wardak province has long been used as an access point to the capital or as a base for launching attacks. About 60,000 people live there.
Wardak mayor Zarifa Ghafari said if the district is not recovered quickly, the fighting will reach the capital within days.
Since May 1, the Taliban have launched a campaign to expand their influence after announcing the complete withdrawal of US troops, who have spent two decades in the country, by September 11.
In Nerkh, insurgents killed or captured some government soldiers and forced others to withdraw after bombing the center of the district.
The defense minister said on Wednesday (12) that special forces were dispatched to the district after a “tactical retreat” on Tuesday and carried out aerial bombardments.
A senior government official said the intention was to regain control before the start of the ceasefire agreed with the Taliban for the religious holiday of Eid, which begins on Thursday, as the truce would give more time to the people. insurgents.
The territories of Wardak province have been in conflict for years for the Taliban.
Taliban fighters are increasingly encircling major urban centers and it is believed that after the Americans withdraw, they will launch more offensives against the cities.
This month, in the southern province of Helmand, intense attacks forced thousands to flee and the U.S. military sent reinforcements to support Afghan forces.
On May 8, more than 50 people died and around 100 were injured in a neighborhood in the west of the capital after a series of bombs exploded in front of a girls’ school. It was the deadliest attack in a year.
On Monday, at least 11 people died in a bomb explosion in the southern province of Zabul.
On Tuesday, the US military announced that it had progressed 6% to 12% in its withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is expected to be completed before September 11.