At least 23 members of an Afghan Army’s special forces unit were killed while fighting the Taliban in the northern province of Faryab on Wednesday, a security official who wished not to be named said on Thursday.
The clash started in Dawlat Abad district after commandos and local troops launched a clearing operation, according to the source.
“At least 23 commandos were killed and six policemen were wounded in the clashes,” the source said.
The security forces retreated from the center of the district after heavy clashes and are stationed in Qaramqol district in Faryab following the clashes, the source said.
One of those killed, Sohrab Azimi, 27, was a special forces officer who had received military training in the US as well as in Turkey. He was the son of retired Gen. Zahir Azimi, a former spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
In a social media post, Azimi confirmed his son’s death in the fighting and said he is “proud of his martyrdom.”
Azimi said that his son and his son's colleagues did their duty proudly and courageously and sacrificed their lives to defend the country.
He also blamed officials for not providing support during the operation.
“His blood is not more than the other sons of this nation. I am proud that he performed the duty given to him until the end. He took the district and raised Afghanistan’s flag, and to keep it he fought until he died,” Zahir Azimi said.
“It was expected that reinforcements would be sent to the area for their support, but unfortunately it didn't happen,” he said. “The clashes escalated and they were surrounded at the place where he was killed with some of his friends and others who were injured--they were shot and killed by the Taliban.”
Sohrab worked in the support section of the special forces, but when the district fell to the Taliban he took charge of a group of 35 commandos to fight the Taliban in the district on Tuesday morning, local sources and security sources said.
“They were pushing back the Taliban from the center of the district but the Taliban was attacking the security forces and security force members were killed,” according to sources.
“The commandos sent their vehicles outside the area to bring army soldiers, and in the meantime, the Taliban attacked the commandos,” the sources added.
The center of Dawlat Abad district has fell to the Taliban a week ago following heavy clashes.
Violence remains high in the country amid a stalled peace process. Official sources on Wednesday reported fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in at least 80 districts over the course of a day.
According to the sources, over 100 Taliban fighters and 90 security force members were killed during this period. Neither the Taliban nor the government has provided numbers of casualties.