Afghan security forces dealt a major blow to the Taliban after its fighters on Tuesday launched an offensive on Mehterlam, the provincial capital of Laghman, ANSF officials there said on Thursday.
The latest fighting follows increased attacks by the militants on various checkpoints in Mehterlam. Some of the checkpoints initially fell to the Taliban.
Provincial governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi later said that the ANSF managed to recapture the fallen checkpoints from the Taliban.
“The Taliban insurgents on Tuesday stormed Mehterlam city from several directions. Initially they seized control of some checkpoints, but government forces later retaliated strongly and the Taliban escaped the battle area,” said provincial governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi.
Security officials say at least 20 Taliban were killed and 13 others wounded in the two-day encounter thus far.
The battles also led to the killing of at least two army officers and several others were wounded.
General Zaman Waziri, the commander of 201 Selab Army Corps confirmed the killing of at least 20 Taliban fighters and the wounding of 13 others.
“The Taliban suffered heavy casualties during the two days of battle. The security forces managed to clear all areas of Mehterlam from the presence of the Taliban,” said general Zaman Waziri.
Recent battles between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces have followed concerns about a possible surge in security threats among the residents in Laghman province.
“We urge upon the central government to address the issue of insecurity in Laghman and eliminate the insurgents in the province,” said a resident of Laghman Hassan Gul.
“The Taliban even infiltrated Mehterlam city. We ask the government to seriously adhere to the concerns of Laghman residents,” said another resident Wali Khan.
ANSF has vowed to retaliate in force to the Taliban attacks.
“We were in our check posts when the Taliban suddenly started their attacks. We were then forced to evacuate our check posts and go to a secure place,” said army officer Gul Agha.
Residents in Laghman province have warned that the coming spring would be difficult in terms of security, unless the government took solid action against the Taliban operatives in the region.