18 September 2016
The Afghan National Army (ANA) battling insurgency in the northern parts of the country has changed its war strategy from a defensive one to an offensive position and are systematically attacking insurgent strongholds, military officials confirmed.
“Now we are not in a defensive position, everyone knows that we attacked insurgents in Sar-e-Pul province and advanced up to Masjid-e-Sabz and Deh Mordeh villages. Also we attacked the Taliban in Baghlan and our operation is ongoing in Kunduz as well,” said General Mohmand Katawazai, a military official in the north.
Katawazai added that Afghan security forces are targeting the enemy but that they are having difficulties destroying Taliban strongholds in remote areas.
He said that the Afghan security forces are not afraid of the risks as they advance on the insurgents.
Meanwhile, military officials in the north have said the Taliban’s “Omari” operation – their summer offensive – has failed and that in the past five months a large number of insurgent have been killed in the north and south-east of the country.
“In the recent five months, 1,010 insurgents were killed and their bodies remained on the battlefields,” said General Hasibullha Quraishi, a special forces commander in northern Balkh province.
Quraishi added: “Around 405 wounded insurgents have been arrested by security forces. We can say that intelligence forces have confirmed this.”
He added that Afghan security forces also had sustained casualties, but their numbers were less.
However, the Kohistanat district in Sar-e-Pul province has been under Taliban control for the past year while a few other districts in the province are under serious threat.
Asked why an operation has not been launched to retake Kohistanat district from the Taliban, Mohammad Zahir Wahdat, governor of Sar-e-Pul, said: “The reason why a large-scale operation has not been launched in Kohistanat, I think is because security forces, the president, the chief executive, ministers and other security sectors are busy trying to solve the problems.”
However, he did not clarify what he meant by the word problems.
Officials have however urged the public to cooperate with security forces and to not listen to the propaganda of insurgents.