On Saturday, the Taliban said they had captured at least five territories in different parts of war-torn Afghanistan amid rising violence.
A spokesman for the group, Zabihula Mujahed, said in a series of tweets that the Taliban had seized control of these areas in the southern provinces of Zabul and Uruzgan, as well as in the central and eastern provinces of Ghazni and Nuristan respectively.
However, the country’s interior ministry rejected the Taliban’s accusations. Spokesman Tariq Arian told Anatolia Agency that security forces in Zabul had carried out a “strategic retreat”.
The Taliban previously claimed control of four areas in the provinces of Maidan Vardak, Baglan and Lagman, which Afghan authorities described as a “strategic retreat” to rescue civilian casualties.
This comes more than three months before the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which begins on May 1, 2021. At least 20 Afghan security forces have been killed in three different provinces of the country in the past 24 hours, local officials for the Anatolian agency confirmed.