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District In Afghanistan's Maidan Wardak Province Falls To Taliban


U.S. military advisers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade walk at an Afghan National Army base in Maidan Wardak Province in 2018. (file photo)

Taliban fighters have overrun another district in Afghanistan's central province of Maidan Wardak after heavy fighting with government forces.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on May 21 that control of the Jalrez district was now in the hands of the group's fighters.

Some 25 government soldiers surrendered to the militants after running out of ammunition, Jalrez district Governor Khalil-ur-Rehman Yadegari told RFE/RL, adding that the his compound and the police headquarters were under Taliban control.

Provincial lawmaker Mahdi Rasikh confirmed that the two buildings have fallen to the Taliban after heavy attacks by the group for the past three days.

Rasikh said at least seven government soldiers were killed in the fighting, while more soldiers are missing.

Rasikh blamed the loss on the lack of support from Kabul, saying "no action was taken by the central government to help the district."

Jalrez is located in the west of Maidan Wardak, some 60 kilometers southwest of Kabul.

Jalrez is the second district in Maidan Wardak to fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks and also the second Afghan district overrun by the militants in two days, adding to a string of recent gains made by the group after President Joe Biden announced the start of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from May 1.

On May 20, Dawlat Shah district of the eastern province of Laghman was captured by the Taliban, according to lawmakers from the province after having been besieged by the Taliban for at least a month.

Local officials said they negotiated the retreat of the government forces from Dawlat Shah with the Taliban, but the Defense Ministry said its troops made a tactical retreat in the district.

Violence has remained high in the country despite peace efforts. The Afghan forces and the Taliban observed a three-day cease-fire from May 12 to May 15, but a day after the truce ended, the Defense Ministry reported clashes in 18 provinces.

With reporting by tolonews.com
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