The Ministry of Defense has admitted that the cities of Farah, Faizabad, Trinkot, Kunduz, Maimana and Pul-e-Khumri are under pressure by the Taliban but said government forces are ready to defend these cities.
Twenty-two security force members were meanwhile killed in heavy clashes with the Taliban in two districts of central Ghazni province, members of the provincial council confirmed on Wednesday.
In addition, five other security force members were wounded.
The clashes started on Tuesday night after dozens of Taliban insurgents attacked Zana Khan and Jaghato districts of the province, a member of the provincial council Hussain Reza Yousufi said.
“Yes. As you said a few cities are under pressure. But remember that cities are safe. We have carried out 14 military operations today which are in districts not in cities,” Defense Ministry deputy spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Kunduz residents said the Kunduz-Baghlan highway is closed to traffic.
“Security of highways has worsened recently. Today (Wednesday) we witnessed that the Kunduz-Baghlan highway was closed by the Taliban. We ask government to ensure the safety of highways,” said Bashir, a resident of Kunduz.
“Taliban militants are in Kunduz and establish check points often and stop vehicles and commit murders. We ask government to pay serious attention to this matter,” claimed Hamid, a resident of Kunduz.
About 300 insurgents were killed in the day-long attack, Salangi said, adding that “15 army soldiers, 10 policemen and five civilians were killed in the clashes.”
“First 1,000 Taliban insurgents attacked Farah districts on Tuesday and after the first attack over 1,000 other insurgents also joined the attack,” he said.
The Taliban drew the insurgents from Helmand, Herat, Ghor and Zabul provinces to launch the large-scale attack on the city, but security forces defended the city including the National Directorate of Security (NDS) department, police headquarters, and Farah city hospital and pushed them back after reinforcements arrived.
The Taliban only confirmed the death of nine fighters and said in a statement that they pulled out their fighters from the city after taking military equipment.