News - Afghanistan
Military sources Sunday confirmed that more than 20 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on their military posts in Jurm district of north-eastern Badakhshan province.
Sources said the incident took place on Friday night and that the Taliban took 14 ANA soldiers hostage and have since beheaded four of them.
This comes after the Taliban insurgents attacked a number of ANA posts in Jurm and targeted the military posts with small and heavy weapons. The soldiers fought off the insurgents for more than six hours - without air support.
Sources said that the absence of a plan for the military forces to prevent such an attack resulted in the deaths of the ANA soldiers and in others being taken hostage.
There has however been speculation around the numbers killed and taken hostage.
Jawid Kohistani, a military analyst said that "about 70 were killed, taken captive or beheaded by the insurgents". He also said that the insurgents seized large amounts of military equipment. "The National Directorate of Security (NDS) was told about this a few days ago, but unfortunately they didn't pay attention to it", he said.
Badakhshan representatives in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament), said that they informed leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) about the attack but no officials have been sent to the province to assess the situation.
They also said: "We visited President [Ashraf Ghani] and told him hundreds of foreign and local terrorists had gathered there. But on that night there was no security officials," Safiullah Muslim, an MP, said.
But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials said the situation is now under control in Jurm and ANA soldiers have returned to their posts.
Deputy MoD spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed the attack but rejected claims that far more soldiers were killed and taken hostage than officially reported.
He said the special forces had since launched an operation in the area.
As yet, the military forces have launched 21 operations in 12 provinces and have already been involved in clashes with the insurgents.
The Meshrano Jirga (the Upper House) has however criticized the NUG for negligence over the management of the Badakhshan attack. They have said: "It's enough! For how long should we read the Fatiha (memorial ceremony)? "