At least 50 members of the Afghan security forces have surrendered to the Taliban in a fight for control of Afghanistan’s western province of Badghis that has created heavy casualties, officials said.
Fighting in Afghanistan has intensified even as Taliban and U.S. officials finished the latest round of peace talks on Tuesday, with both sides citing progress. Afghanistan usually sees a marked increase in violence in spring.
Some 100 Afghan personnel who are part of the Interior Ministry’s border police attempted to flee their posts into neighbouring Turkmenistan on Saturday, but they were prevented from entering that country, Badghis provincial council chairman Abdul Aziz Bik said on Sunday. About 50 Afghan border police surrendered, while the remaining 50 continued fighting in the district of Bala Murghab, he said. Bala Murghab is the province’s most populous district.
“These soldiers have been fighting against the Taliban for years and if they give up, they will be killed by Taliban,” Mr. Bik said.
The district was at risk of falling to the Taliban unless Afghan forces receive air and ground reinforcements, Badghis provincial council member Abdullah Afzali said on Saturday.
The Taliban said 90 border police had surrendered to the militant group.
Jamshid Shahabi, a spokesman for Badghis’s Governor, said the Taliban had inflated its estimate of captured forces.