Afghan, NATO forces retake Taliban-controlled district
Afghan security forces backed by NATO troops retook a district in eastern Afghanistan that was overrun by rebels last week, officials said Tuesday, DPA reported.
The operation to recapture the Bargi Matal district in the eastern province of Nuristan was conducted on Monday night, after several airstrikes on rebel positions in the area bordering Pakistan, NATO said in a statement.
"This operation is in response to the large amount of insurgent activity in the area during previous weeks," it said. "No shots were fired and no one was harmed during this operation."
Hundreds of Taliban, including Pakistani and Chechen fighters, had taken the district centre on Saturday following nearly a week of combat. Local officials said the militants crossed the border from Pakistan, where they are said to have rear bases.
"This operation shows the improved planning and operational capabilities of our joint forces in response to serious incidents even in the most remote locations of Afghanistan," Interior Ministry spokesman Zamarai Bashary said.
The attack on a remote eastern district was apparently aimed at diverting the focus of NATO-led troops from a major offensive in southern province of Kandahar, according to NATO officials.
The military is planning an offensive in Kandahar in the summer, when thousands of additional US troops are to arrive in the region.
The operation is aimed at the Taliban's spiritual home in the hope of forcing them to the negotiating table with the government.