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Police Commander Says More Than 50 Afghan Officers Captured By The Taliban


Afghan security forces keep watch at a checkpoint in Maidan Wardak Province. (file photo)

Taliban forces have captured more than 50 members of the country's security forces in the central province of Maidan Wardak , a senior police commander told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan.

Colonel Mustafa Mayar, the chief police commander in Maidan Wardak, said on June 27 that the Afghan security officers were captured during a night of heavy fighting in the province.

He said two districts, Chak and Sayed Abad, had fallen into the hands of the Taliban despite what he described as strong resistance by Afghan forces.

"Around 30 Afghan National Police in Sayed Abad and 26 others in Chak have also been captured by the enemy," Mayar said in an interview with RFE/RL.

There was no immediate comment from the Afghan government.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed claimed on Twitter that Taliban fighters had detained 190 soldiers in Sayed Abad.

The militant group has taken control of dozens of districts from government forces in recent weeks, raising concerns that the Western-backed government in Kabul and the battered Afghan security forces may collapse after U.S.-led international forces withdraw from Afghanistan by a self-imposed September 11 deadline.

The UN special envoy on Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said on June 22 that the Taliban has taken more than 50 of the country’s 370 districts since May, warning that increased conflict "means increased insecurity for many other countries, near and far."

The Afghan Defense Ministry called the fall of the districts a tactical retreat and said that it had recaptured more than 10 districts from the insurgents in recent days.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, at the White House on June 25 that "Afghans are going to have to decide their future."

But Biden vowed that "we’re going to stick with you and we’re going to do our best to see to it you have the tools you need.”

Ghani said Washington's decision to withdraw “has made everybody recalculate and reconsider” as the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan enters a new phase.

Peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban, launched in Qatar in September 2020, largely broke off when Biden announced the pullout of U.S. forces by September 11 following a May 1 deadline the previous U.S. administration had agreed with the Taliban.

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