The Afghan security forces have reportedly taken full control of Nawa district in southern Ghazni province after a 13-day military operation that culminated on Friday, local officials said. The seizure marks the first time in nine years the Afghan government has cleared the district of insurgents.
The operation was launched under the name of "Fatha." Despite facing some 200 roadside mines planted by militants, the Afghan forces were able to take control of the district without any casualties, Ghazni's acting governor Musa Khan Akbarzada said.
"With great cooperation and with the support of the people, the Afghan forces reached their goal without any casualties," Akbarzada said Friday. "The insurgents planted 200 mines, but earlier today the Afghan forces took control of Nawa after nine years."
Once the National Security Council (NSC) and tribal elders have been consulted with, the governing structure for the district is expected to be put in place.
The Fatha operation was launched in Ghazni as well as southern Zabul province, which borders Ghazni. According to officials, some 270 insurgents have been killed, including many foreigners, and 250 mines have been flagged by the Afghan forces.
"The operation was aimed to clear Nawa district and in this operation more than 200 insurgents were killed, which are massive casualties, and now the people are walking freely in the bazaars," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Nawa has been one of the most consistently insecure districts in Afghanistan over the past decade. The retaking of it by government forces marks a major achievement, and a promising sign as military launches a coordinated offensive around the country in hopes of curtailing gains made my militants in recent months.