22:27 GMT25 July 2021
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    KABUL (Sputnik) - The Afghan military has launched a counter-operation to liberate the city of Qala-e-Naw in the northwestern province of Badghis from the Taliban radical movement (banned in Russia), the Afghan Defenсe Ministry said on Thursday.

    "Last night, commandos arrived in Qala-e-Naw to control the security situation and defeat the Taliban, and the operation is moving fast, with security at the center under control", the defense ministry said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    It added that the Taliban* suffered heavy casualties in clashes with the security forces.

    "Sixty-nine Taliban insurgents were killed and 23 others were wounded in separate incidents in Badghis province," the statement read.

    The Taliban, on its part, claimed that it had captured all districts in Badghis and that heavy fighting was still underway in Qala-e-Naw.

    On Wednesday, a source told Sputnik that the Taliban broke into the Qala-e-Naw prison and freed all inmates, with consequent clashes ravaging the city.

    Afghanistan is seeing a spike in violence as international troops are gradually being withdrawn from the country. The troop pullout was one of the points in the agreement the Taliban and the United States reached in Doha in February of last year.

    In recent days, thousands of Afghan government soldiers have fled to neighboring Tajikistan, escaping from the Taliban, which took over 70 percent of the Afghan-Tajik border under its control. Uzbekistan has refused to accept Afghan soldiers trying to cross borders.

    *Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

    Taliban, Afghanistan, Afghan War
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