MoD rejects claims that Faryab district has fallen to Taliban

Faryab Provincial Council members on Thursday claimed Almar district in the province had fallen to the Taliban but the Ministry of Defense said there was no truth in these reports.

According to Faryab council officials, government forces were under siege for several days in Almar but eventually withdrew after widespread attacks by the Taliban.

They said the district fell once troops withdrew and that both sides sustained heavy casualties.

However, other officials said that security forces retreated from the district center in order to “prevent casualties of civilians and local forces.

“Security forces surrounded the Taliban but they managed to escape and move to Khawja Osman base which is 4 km away from the center of Almar,” local sources said.

In addition to this, Faryab police said that acting district police chief Mohammad Amin Patang crossed sides on Wednesday afternoon and joined the Taliban.

Abdul Karim Yourish, a spokesman for the provincial police chief also said Patang had joined the Taliban. He said this was due to the intensity of the Taliban attacks.

Yourish said Patang was appointed as acting police chief of Almar three months ago.

Security sources in the district meanwhile said a number of security and defense force members in the district had been under siege but that the siege was broken Thursday and the trapped security force members had been rescued.

The Ministry of Defense meanwhile denied claims that Almar district had fallen to the Taliban and said in a statement that ANDSF conducted an operation in the district and cleared large areas of Taliban. The MoD emphasized that the district is under ANDSF control.

“The published news about the fall of Almar district of Faryab province is incorrect. ANDSF conducted an operation in the district and cleared off vast areas of Taliban and the district is under control of ANDSF,” MoD said in a statement.

Provincial Governor Naqibullah Fayeq also denied reports of the district having fallen to the Taliban but said he has decided to move the staff out of the government district office due to security threats.

“Today’s operation, which was aimed at rescuing soldiers, [resulted in] 36 Taliban being killed in the area; the enemy line was defeated and the Taliban lost the ability to confront the security forces. The operations of the commandos continue and tonight the remaining parts of Almar Bazaar will be cleared of the enemy,” Fayeq said.

The Taliban has not yet commented.