Commandos again retake northeastern Afghan district
Afghan commandos, backed by Coalition forces, have again ejected the Taliban from a district in eastern Afghanistan that has changed hands four times this year.
The combined Afghan and Coalition force air assaulted into the district center in Barg-e-Matal in Nuristan province on July 25 to retake the town from the Taliban, which took control of the district just one day prior.
"Initial reports indicate the security forces did not encounter any resistance from the Taliban," Combined Joint Task Force-101 stated in a press release on its website. Jamaludin Badar, the governor of Nuristan province, confirmed that Afghan forces took control of the district, which directly borders Pakistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed that the Taliban withdrew from the district center to avoid incurring high casualties in a fight with Afghan and Coalition forces, according to BBC News Pashto Service.
Control of Barge-e-Matal has shifted back and forth between the Afghan government and the Taliban four times since the end of June. Hundreds of Afghan Taliban fighters, backed by the Pakistan Taliban, Arabs, and Chechens, have launched repeated assaults against the Barge-e-Matal district center over the past month.
Afghan officials claimed that an estimated 700 to 1,200 enemy fighters were involved in the assault. While the estimates may be high, Taliban casualties indicate several hundred fighters have been involved. More than 100 Taliban fighters have been reported killed in Barg-e-Matal since the end of June; 50 of those were killed in a single operation on July 23 in a Taliban camp near the district center.
For more information on the recent fighting in Barg-e-Matal, and in Nuristan and Kunar, see LWJ report, Taliban seize district in northeastern Afghanistan.