KABUL (Dispatches) – The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s main border crossing with Tajikistan, officials said Tuesday, with security forces abandoning their posts and some fleeing across the frontier.
The seizure of Shir Khan Bandar, in the far north of Afghanistan, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Kunduz city, is the most significant gain for the Taliban as the fight with government rages on.
“Unfortunately this morning and after an hour of fighting the Taliban captured Shir Khan port and the town and all the border check posts with Tajikistan,” said Kunduz provincial council member Khaliddin Hakmi.
Meanwhile, at least 50 Taliban were killed in an air raid by the Afghan security forces in the western province bordering Iran, officials said on Tuesday, as a deadly turf war rages across the country.
A spokesman for the Herat governor, Jailani Farhad, told Anadolu Agency that dozens of Taliban planned to storm the Pashton Zarghon district with an explosive-laden vehicle. However, the Afghan forces targeted them with an airstrike before they could carry out their plan.
“Intelligence reports suggest that at least 50 armed Taliban militants were killed and a number of others injured in this raid,” he said.
The Defense Ministry in a series of tweets on Tuesday claimed to have killed nearly 300 militants in counter-terrorism offensives in the past 24 hours.
The advancing Taliban on Tuesday claimed to have taken control of the districts of Chahar Dara, Imam Saheb, Chora, Nahreen and Maiwand.
In a tweet, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed rejected claim by the government that its forces have recaptured several districts.
“The mercenary enemy has repeatedly claimed that it has recaptured Doshi in Baghlan, Bangi, and Khaja Ghar districts of Takhar and Balkh in Balkh province.
We received updates from all areas, the enemy is propagandizing, it has not occupied any place,” he said.
Mujahid stated in another tweet, “The enemy has failed to take practical action, while only propagating imaginary and Facebook recapturing of the districts.”
Meanwhile, six children were wounded after an Abandoned Explosive Ordnance (AXO) detonated by accident in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday, the local government confirmed.
“Six children from three families affected in an AXO explosion in Hasaka Mina district’s Papin area at mid-day on Tuesday,” the government said in a statement.
The wounded have been taken to the district hospital, the statement added.
Landmines and anti-personnel mines left behind from previous wars kill or maim more than 120 people every month in the militancy-hit country, according to Afghanistan State Ministry for Disaster Management.