Paktia officials said special forces and commandos have launched an operation to retake the district which has fallen to the Taliban twice in two weeks.
Operation Launched To Re-Take Janikhail District
Afghan special forces and commando units have launched a military operation to re-take Janikhail district in Paktia province after it fell to the Taliban four days ago, local officials said Monday.
This is the second time in two weeks that the district collapsed.
Two weeks ago it fell to the Taliban but was retaken by security forces - however it collapsed again on Thursday.
Local officials said the special forces, including the commandos, are advancing and have so far retaken Reshpakai Kotal in the district but are still three kilometers from the the district center.
Local officials said that one of the biggest challenges for security forces was the number of IEDs that were planted by the Taliban.
Provincial police chief Toryalai Abdiyani said he requested airstrikes on a number of occasions but nothing was forthcoming.
Local officials said that casualties have been sustained by both security forces and the Taliban but they did not give details.
Provincial governor Shamim Katawazai said that the operation will continue until the district has been cleared of Taliban.
Last week, local officials said the lack of sufficient security forces led to the collapse of the strategic district. They called on the central government, particularly the Ministry of Interior (MoI), to address the shortage of police in the volatile region.
Janikhail district is located 150 kilometers to the west of the provincial capital Gardez City. It shares a border with Kurram Agency and Parachinar regions across the Durand Line – the disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.