Fearless Taliban says it can strike and gain control of Afghan areas at will

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Kabul, Nov.2 (ANI): Observers of the evolving situation in war-ravaged Afghanistan have concluded that so omnipresent is the fear of the Taliban, that their fighters don't even have to fire a shot to gain control of a particular area, in spite of the presence of foreign troops.

Citing the example of the strategically located Khogyani district in Ghazni Province, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Taliban didn't even need to fire a shot to regain control of the area from foreign and Afghan troops.

A band of insurgents overran a small rural district in eastern Afghanistan before dawn Monday, setting government buildings and vehicles ablaze and abducting at least 16 police officers, provincial authorities said.

Observers warned that the overnight incident was symptomatic of an intensifying Taliban push in parts of the country other than the south, the movement's traditional stronghold, and where Western officials have been reporting significant military progress.

Government forces regained control of the district within a few hours, provincial spokesman Ismail Jahangir said, and added that the Taliban melted away when a large contingent of Afghan police and soldiers moved in.

NATO forces were not involved, the Western military said. The fate of the abducted Afghan police officers was unknown.

Provincial officials said the brief takeover underscored the growing vulnerability of isolated districts in a province where the insurgency has been growing stronger.

Ghazni's geographic position is strategic; the main highway between the capital, Kabul, and the south's main city of Kandahar runs through it. NATO supply convoys come under frequent attack when they pass through the province.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Khogyani, and spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid boasted that the insurgents could carry out such strikes at will. (ANI)

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