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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/22/21

Taliban overrun key district in central Afghanistan

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The district governor's compound in Jalrez district in Maidan Wardak and the police headquarters have fallen to the Taliban after three days heavy fighting, an Member of Parliament from the province, Mahdi Rasikh, said on Friday.

Some members of the government forces were captured by the Taliban, he said adding: the district remained under siege by the Taliban for the last two years.

Rasikh said that at least seven security force members were killed in the Taliban attack on the district, while some soldiers are missing.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group has seized the district administration compound as well as the police headquarters by inflicting "heavy casualties" on the government forces.

Rasikh revealed that "no action was taken by the central government to help the district" during heavy fighting in the last three days. Jalrez is located in the west of Maidan Wardak province only 62 kilometers southwest of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Sharifullah Hotak, a member of the provincial council, told Anadolu Agency the Taliban captured the Jalrez district at around 9 a.m. (0430GMT) on Friday after a five-day siege. "The district police chief has surrendered to the Taliban along with 35 security forces, and the district administrative compound has completely fallen to the Taliban," he said.

The Ministry of Defense in a statement said an operation has started by Afghan forces to clear Jalrez district of militants. The ministry said that at least 10 militants were killed in Afghan forces airstrike in the district and that the operation will continue until Jalrez is fully cleared of Taliban. This is the second district in Maidan Wardak that falls to the Taliban in less than two weeks.

Since the announcement of an exit date of September 2021 for American troops by the US President Joe Biden, Afghanistan has been witnessing a spike in deadly Taliban assaults across the country that has led to mounting casualties on all sides.

The Chinese connection

In another development, Afghan military analysts told Ariana News Agency of Afghanistan that China is considering some sort of military presence in Afghanistan once US and NATO ally forces withdraw. According to the analysts China is concerned about security in Afghanistan after coalition forces pull out.

Ariana quoted a recent statement of China's foreign minister Wang Yi, as saying that an environment should be provided for the Afghan peace process to succeed. "The unilateral withdrawal of US forces at a time of internal reconciliation process has created uncertain situation in Afghanistan," said Wang.

This comes after Afghan officials said that Afghanistan and China agreed on expanding security cooperation between the two countries. According to the Afghan officials, terrorism is a joint threat to Afghanistan and China and must be addressed together.

"We always have cooperation with Beijing, and it does not mean there would be a big change in the region," said Haneef Atmar, the Afghan foreign minister.

"Both countries consider terrorism a joint threat and emphasized they would fight it together," said Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC).

As US pulls out of Afghanistan, China sees opportunities -- and potential for chaos

This was title of the story written by James Griffiths and Nectar Gan wrote on CNN on May 14, on US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

China is normally loathe to support any foreign intervention on principle, but unlike the Iraq War, which Beijing vociferously opposed, China's leaders were quietly supportive of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, signing on to a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and calling for a new government, they wrote.

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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