The Taliban has seized control of the district of Bala Buluk in the western Afghan province of Farah today after more than a week of fighting. The group made the claim on its propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, and said it was preparing an assault on Farah city, the provincial capital:
Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate in western Farah province managed to completely overrun Bala Baluk district administration center, police HQ building and all the surrounding defense check post during a 3 hour coordinated assault overnight.
The capture of the district came as the district center was under a siege and attacks for the past 9 days during which Mujahideen also repelled multiple offensives by hireling commando forces that arrived from the neighboring Herat province.
Officials say that 10 enemy corpses were left behind in the district center as Mujahideen overran it while another was detained in an injured state, adding that the war booty seized in the operation includes 3 APCs, a pickup truck, a Dshk heavy machine gun with 80 boxes of rounds, 6 PKMs with 15 boxes of rounds, 3 Ak rifles with 3 boxes of rounds as well as various types of other equipment.
Mujahideen have currently launched attacks on the enemy check posts lining the main road towards the provincial capital.
The Taliban’s claim is backed by reports in the Afghan media. According to Khaama Press, police in the district had been surrounded and the district police chief reportedly abandoned his men, while the fate of dozens of policemen is unknown:
Taliban have attacked a number of security posts in Bala Buluk District of western Farah province. Reports suggest that dozens of Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) have been surrounded by Taliban in this district. A policeman told Khaama Press by telephone that Taliban are about 100 meters away from them.
Yelling for help, he said “if immediate support does not arrive to Shiwan area, we will
all die.” He further said that two policemen have embraced martyrdom and six others wounded so far. A reliable security source who wished not to be named said that around 50 policemen are encircled in the area.
He added that Humayoun Dilawar who is the police commander there has escaped to the provincial capital. But the police commander rejected report about escaping from the area. Dilawar said he is trying to prepare support for the policemen who have been surrounded for three days.
Bala Buluk has long been a Taliban stronghold and in the past has been used as base to attack Afghan and Coalition forces. Al Qaeda has also had a presence in the district; in June 2009 an al Qaeda trainer was killed during fighting there.
The Taliban now controls 33 districts and contests another 37, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal (see map). The group has made a push to gain territory over the past several weeks and seized a dozen districts in the north, west, and south.
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