Taliban launch massive offensive in east Afghanistan

Written by: IANS
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Kabul, Aug 19: Taliban militants, in their latest offensive against government facilities, launched a massive attack involving hundreds of fighters on security check points in Charkh district of eastern Afghanistan's Logar province on Tuesday, an official said.

"About 600 or 700 militants armed with heavy and light weapons stormed Charkh district centre around midday today, triggering gunfight even as security forces are battling Taliban militants in surrounding areas of the district headquarters," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, saying authorised officials would brief the media after investigation.

The attack on Charkh district took place as the government was celebrating the 95th Independence Day of Afghanistan, marking the nation's freedom from British colonial rule Aug 19, 1919.

According to the official, at least seven soldiers and police personnel were injured in the attack while several militants lost their lives on the battle ground.

Taliban militants Sunday morning attacked check points in the neighbouring Hazra district and fled the scene after leaving five insurgents dead.

In a related development, unidentified armed men shot dead a former Taliban commander, Mullah Torjan, in the group's former stronghold in the southern province of Kandahar, an official said Tuesday.

"Mullah Torjan was on the way to his home last night when unknown armed men opened fire, killing him on the spot and made good their escape," Zia Durani, police spokesman in Kandahar province, told Xinhua.

Without giving more details, he said that an investigation has been initiated into the case to identify and bring the culprits to justice.

Torjan was a famous Taliban commander before he gave up the war and joined the government-backed peace process in 2012.

Meanwhile, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, in a telephone call to media from an unknown location took responsibility for Torjan's killing, saying Taliban militants shot him dead as punishment.


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