Afghan fightback BEGINS as rebels recapture key areas from Taliban: ‘Fighting is raging’

Taliban 'hunting' down collaborators with Nato and US forces

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The Banu, Pol-e-Hesar and De Salah districts were all apparently seized during fierce fighting, with roughly 60 Taliban fighters either killed or injured. The Taliban have staggered the West with their lightning-fast advance through the country prior to the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of all US troops

Last week saw chaotic scenes at Kabul’s airport as thousands of Afghans tried to board planes following the Taliban’s arrival in the country’s capital, with US President Joe Biden the subject of stinging criticism over his handling of the situation.

Nevertheless, photographs and videos circulating on social media yesterday suggested local fighters are now starting to hit back hard.

A Twitter account named after Panjshir Province – a centre for anti-Taliban forces – shared a report about events in Baghlan in both Persian and English.

A post at 1.40pm GMT said: “Pul-e-Hesar district was taken back from the #Taliban and fighting is raging in Deh-e-Salah and Banu districts.

“Local sources say the Taliban have been attacked from several areas and suffered heavy casualties.”

Banu and Deh-e-Salah districts were also recaptured, according to numerous reports, including one by Indian TV news channel Republic World.

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Tajuden Soroush, senior correspondent for Iran International, a Persian TV station based in London, tweeted minutes later: “An ex, Afghan government officials tell me that local resistances forces in Baghlan province have recaptured Banu and Pol-e-Hesar districts from the Taliban.

“They are advancing towards the Deh Salah district. About 60 Taliban fighters were killed or injured.”

Later he added: “Deh Salah district also fell to the local resistance forces.”

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However, there was also uncertainty about which areas had been recaptured and whether the fighting had finished.

Some reports suggested Banu and Deh-e-Salah had not yet been captured.

Additionally, other reports suggested resistance fighters were advancing on the Baghlan’s Andarab district – and still more suggesting it had also claiming been recaptured from the Taliban.

Taliban forces captured Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province, on August 10.

Separately, the United States today advised Americans in Afghanistan to avoid travelling to Kabul airport on Saturday as thousands gathered trying to flee the country almost a week after the Islamist militants took control.

The advisory came after Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar arrived in Kabul for talks with other leaders to hammer out a new Afghan government after the Taliban’s lightning advance across the country.

Images circulated on social media this week of Afghans rushing towards a US C-17 transport plane and clinging to its side.

A separate video showed what appeared to be two people falling from a military plane as it flew out of Kabul.

Since then, crowds have grown at the airport where armed Taliban have urged those without travel documents to go home.

At least 12 people have been killed in and around the single runway airfield since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

A US Embassy advisory spokesman said. “Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising US citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative to do so.”

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