At least 40 civilians killed in last 24 hours in besieged Afghan city: UN

Afghan forces vow to retake districts lost to Taliban

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Kabul: The Afghan authorities vowed on Tuesday to retake all areas lost by the Taliban because after more than 1,000 government troops fled to neighboring Tajikistan, hundreds of commandos were deployed to counter the fierce rebel offensive in the north.

Fighting raged in several provinces, but the destructive movement of the insurgents, mainly concentrated in the northern rural areas, occupied dozens of areas in the past two months.

Last week, all U.S. and NATO forces left the Bagram Air Force Base near Kabul-the command center of the anti-Taliban operation-effectively ending them after 20 years of military intervention that began after the September 11 attacks Evacuation.

“There is war, there is pressure. Sometimes things are working our way. Sometimes they don t, but we will continue to defend the Afghan people,” National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib told reporters. “We have plans to retake the districts,” he added.

Troops and pro-government militiamen were deployed in the northern provinces of Takhar and Badakshan where the Taliban have captured large swathes of territory at lighting speed, often with little resistance.

Afghan defence officials have said they intend to focus on securing major cities, roads and border towns in the face of the Taliban onslaught, launched as US and NATO troops pressed ahead with their final withdrawal in early May.

The rapid rise of militants has raised concerns that the Afghan army is facing a spiral crisis, especially now that the important US air support has been drastically reduced due to the handover of Bagram Air Force Base.

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