Details of the attacks in Zabul and Farah were confirmed only on Sunday.
Also last week, the insurgents captured two districts separated by 300 miles in northern and western Afghanistan on Tuesday. One of those, Bal Chiragh in western Faryab Province, was recaptured by Afghan Special Forces on Wednesday, officials said. The other, Tala Wa Barfak, in Baghlan Province, remained under Taliban control, cutting a strategic highway, according to officials.
A senior security official in Baghlan Province said that the Tala Wa Barfak fight had cost the lives of 44 Afghan soldiers and police officers, with another 36 soldiers and officers listed as missing, out of a total of 150 who had been trying to defend the area. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because his account contradicted the government’s version.
Officially, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, said 10 soldiers had been killed in Tala Wa Barfak, adding that government forces would soon retake the district. “We are working to fix the roads,” he said. “The enemy dug tunnels and ditches on the roads to Tala Wa Barfak so that our vehicles cannot cross. Once we fix those roads we will take back that district, too.”
The Taliban now control 14 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, with another 46 districts under the group’s influence, according to figures from a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a United States government agency.
The Afghan interior minister, Wais Ahmad Barmak, acknowledged in a recent news conference that Taliban offensives were underway in many parts of the country.