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Taliban ambush leaves over 20 Afghan commandos dead

Taliban ambush leaves over 20 Afghan commandos dead

dpa
Kabul
More than 20 Afghan commandos have been killed in Afghanistan’s northern province of Faryab by Taliban militants, local officials said on Thursday.
The elite forces were deployed to recapture a district seized by the Taliban about 10 days ago.
The commandos were deployed by air and together with local forces on the ground attempted to capture Dawlat Abad district from the Taliban militants late on Tuesday, provincial councillor Sebghatullah Sailab said.
Security forces briefly retook control of the district but militants hiding in surrounding villages then ambushed them, councillors Abdul Manan Qati and Fazal Haq Mohammadi added.
The local army forces were familiar with the area and managed to escape but the commandos were taken captive and then shot dead, one of the officials said.
At least two military tanks were struck by roadside bomb blasts during the attack and five others were seized by the militants, according to the local politicians.
Footage shared on social media show the bloody corpses of over a dozen commandos with bare feet as Taliban fighters search their corpses, apparently to take their belongings.
Many Afghans, including politicians, government officials, and journalists, posted pictures of a commander of the special forces, Suhrab Azimi, on social media, describing him as one of the most respected and formidable officers.
“When I saw the picture of your lifeless body, and that the bullet hit your chest and not your back, I was proud and I realized that you had fought face to face with your enemy until the last moment,” his father, a former Afghan army general, Zahir Azimi wrote on Facebook.
Violence continues unabated across Afghanistan and the militants have seen a string of gains recently.
Since the beginning of the official withdrawal of the United States and other NATO troops on May 1, at least 27 districts have fallen to the Taliban.
Afghanistan has 34 provinces and around 400 districts. District centres serve as secondary-level administrative units, one level below the provinces.
Concerns are growing about the capability of security forces following a complete withdrawal of the international forces.
The Afghan army’s commando forces are highly trained and well-equipped. They are being deployed repeatedly in the toughest battlefields in an attempt to push the Taliban back.
According to a UN report, the Taliban was able to capture five districts last year, four of which were recaptured by the government within several days.

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