The resurgent Taliban on Tuesday infiltrated Paktia’s Janikhail district as battles between the Afghan security forces and the militant group rage across multiple fronts in the country.
This also comes after the group’s deadly attack on Monday that killed over 36 civilians in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
The collapse of Janikhail marks the third consecutive victory by the militants in just four days.
Over the weekend, the Taliban launched major offensives on Taiwara district in Ghor and Kohistan district in Faryab province in the country’s west and northern parts respectively – seizing control of the strategic towns.
Defense Ministry Blames Pakistan
“Pressure has been mounted on the Pakistani government from the international community particularly from the U.S side. Pakistan has persuaded all armed opponents to come to Afghanistan and increase their attacks,” Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
But, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has rejected claims about the collapse of Janikhail to the Taliban.
Janikhail which is 150 kilometers from the provincial capital Gardez City shares a border with Pakistan’s Kurram Agency and Parachinar region – two tribal regions across the Durand Line.
“The war still rages on in that region. Reinforcements have also been sent to the area,” said Nisar Ahmad Abdul Rahimzai, security commander of Paktia Police Headquarters.
“It is an area which has routes to several provinces. Armed opponents can get supplies from several provinces. They can create security threats for several provinces from the area including Faryab,” said Asifa Shadab, an MP from Faryab.
“We will not allow anyone to harm the aspirations of the people,” said Juma Khan Adil, commander of 606 Ansar Police Unit.
The district has also common borders with Musakhail and Sabri districts in Khost province.
Janikhail which wields a major economic reputation in the south has been frequently targeted by the Taliban.
There are several chromite mines in the district which have further added to the economic status of the town.
Kohistan district meanwhile is located 120 kilometers from Faryab’s capital Maimana city. It has 135 villages and a population of over 150,000.
It shares a border with Ghor, Badghis and Sar-e-Pul provinces in the west and northeastern parts of the country.
The district is also connected to Faryab’s Qaisar, Almar, Pashtoon Kot and Garziwan districts.
Taiwara district is located 240 kilometers from Feroz Koh region, in the west. It has a border with Purchaman and Gulistan districts in Farah province, in the south, with Baghran district of Helmand and in the east and northeast regions with Pasawand Shahrak, Tolak and Saghar districts of Ghor province.
Taiwara was one of the strongholds of the Afghan Mujahedeen during the former USSR occupation and resistance.
But, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has said that the Taliban must not dream of achieving their goals.
Violence has dramatically increased in the country over the past three weeks as the Afghan security forces are now tackling the Taliban offshoots in at least ten provinces.