KABUL (Reuters) - Dozens of Taliban fighters attacked local government buildings in a district of northwestern Afghanistan on Sunday and may have captured the whole area, officials said.
The attack is part of a wider Taliban offensive in the north of Afghanistan that is proving a tough test for the NATO-trained Afghan police and army, who have no foreign combat assistance following the withdrawal last year of most international troops.
Commenting on the attacks in the district of Jawand, which is in the province of Badghis, provincial council chief Baha Agheem said: “The district has already fallen to the insurgents and the police and district chiefs have fled the area.”
A spokesman for the provincial governor, Mirwais Mirzakwal, said the fighting was still raging but that the district looked likely to fall into the insurgents’ hands.
The insurgents are also pressing attacks elsewhere in northern Afghanistan, notably on the major provincial capital of Kunduz, where fighting has dragged on for two weeks.
The Taliban has long held sway over some rural districts, especially in its traditional southern and eastern strongholds, but this year the insurgents have also expanded attacks in the north with an eye toward grabbing more territory.
Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Gareth Jones