14 Afghan security force members killed in Taliban attack
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed Sunday that 14 security force members including the district police chief were killed in a Taliban attack on the district on Saturday night, TOLO News reported.
The ministry denied reports of the collapse of the district and said security forces had pushed back the insurgents.
However, residents say clashes are ongoing.
“Some of the security checkpoints in the district collapsed, but the district itself did not fall,” said Nasrat Rahimi the MoI’s spokesman.
The Taliban attacked Sayed Abad district in central Wardak province on Saturday night – just 85km south-west of Kabul city center.
Motorists and truck drivers from Kabul and other provinces said they have not been able to use the Kabul-Kandahar highway for two days. This highway is the main artery from Kabul to the south of the country.
One bus passenger who is accompanying his aunt back to Kandahar said they have been waiting for two days in Kabul to get a bus.
“We are here at the hotel, and we do not have any extra money for a dinner at the hotel to eat,” said Awal Mir.
On Sunday, some cars took the chance and drove through the Sayed Abad district.
One of the motorists who tried this said he had been stuck on the road for two nights. He was from Logar province.
“Last night, we paid 250 Afghanis and now the hotel wants us to pay 400 hundred per night. Our money is finished,” said Fazlullah a resident from Helmand province.
Meanwhile, bus passengers trying to reach Kabul are also stuck along the highway.
“The roads are closed because of the Taliban war,” a passenger said.
“The government cannot ensure security of the highway, so how can it ensure our security,” said another resident.
On Saturday, Taliban warned in a statement they would attack parts of the Kabul-Kandahar highway and that they would close the highway to traffic.
But on Sunday, Wardak governor’s spokesman Abdul Rahman Mangal said: “Security is now fully secure in the area, and security forces are also in place.”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s power supply company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) has confirmed major power lines serving the district have been cut. This has also affected Ghazni, Logar and Paktia provinces, which are all without power.
DABS said as soon as the security situation improves they will send a team in to repair the lines.
Sayed Abad district is a strategic district located on the Kabul-Kandahar highway.