Afghanistan: Taliban recapture Faryab’s Astana Baba area

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MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The Taliban recaptured Astana Baba area in Sherin Tagab district of northern Faryab province on Thursday, a day after security forces seized it, an official said.

The district chief, Syed Luqman Ghraik, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Astana Baba area fell to Taliban this afternoon hours after First Vice-President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum left Faryab for neighbouring Sur-i-Pul province.

He said more than 50 fighters of an uprising group were missing and probably killed by Taliban fighters.

Gen. Dostum, who has been leading a military offensive against Taliban in northern provinces, moved on Thursday morning to Sur-i-Pul with 2000 security forces to drive militants.

A day earlier, Junbish-i-Milli Islami Afghanistan party deputy head Massoud Ahmad Massoud told Pajhwok Afghan News the Dostum-led forces on Tuesday afternoon captured Astana Baba area which served as the Taliban’s last stronghold.

He said the operation had so far resulted in the capture of 80 villages and the killing of 50 Taliban gunmen. Another four militants were captured alive and nearly 100 others surrendered, he said.

Col. Mohammad Akbar Bashash, the Khwaja Sabz Posh district police chief, said a public uprising commander Fayyaz along with his 80 fighters went to Astana Baba area on 40 motorcycles for security, but Taliban besieged them and killed 20 of them.

About a dozen uprising members, including Fayyaz, were able to flee, but the remaining had been missing since then.

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