Afghanistan's army has launched a counteroffensive to regain Chahar Dara, a key district in the country's north. The troops have managed to recapture Yamgan in the northeast, captured by insurgents earlier this month.
Afghan troops on Sunday began their counteroffensive to rout Taliban rebels from Chahar Dara, a key district in the northern Kunduz province that was captured by the insurgents a day ago.
Heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan army was reported on Sunday, just three kilometers away from the governor's compound, Hamdullah Danishi, a deputy governor of Kunduz said.
"Three troops and 17 Taliban fighters have died in two days of fighting," Saboor Nusrati, police chief of the northern province of Kunduz told dpa news agency. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his fighters took control of Chahar Dara district center and 12 police check posts, adding that 24 police and army soldiers had been killed until now.
Army recaptures Yamgan
Afghan troops were however successful in retaining Yamgan, a district in the northeastern Badakshan province, from Taliban insurgents. The rebels had gained control of the area on June 6.
"We succeeded to retake the bulk of the district this morning," Badakhshan's police chief Baba Jan told reporters. One government soldier was killed and four others were injured, while more than a hundred rebels were killed and wounded, Baba Jan added.
Yamgan is a sparsely populated area and has rarely been the focus of fighting, but the number of attacks on civilians and the army have increased after the Taliban announced its summer offensive in the beginning of April.
Afghanistan struggling to control insurgents
19 people, including nine children and eight women were killed on Saturday night in the southern Helmand province. The victims were trying to escape fighting in Marjah district when their van struck a roadside bomb. The dead children were all believed to be less than five years old.
Afghan forces are struggling to keep the Taliban at bay after international troops pulled out of the country at the end of last year. Kunduz city and its province have been the mainstay for foreign forces, especially German forces, while they were stationed in Afghanistan. A loss of the city to the Taliban would mean a major embarrassment to Afghan forces.
mg/bw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)