Afghan opposition attack to regain lost base in north foiled: Taliban
KABUL, May 7 (AFP) - The ruling Taliban militia Monday foiled an opposition attack to recapture a key base in northern Takhar province as heavy fighting continued at several places in Afghanistan, Taliban officials said.
Forces of opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood launched a big attack on Hazar Bagh and Khwajaghar districts in Takhar but Taliban fighters rebuffed the assault, a senior Taliban information ministry official said.
"They launched a vast and simultaneous attack against our positions in this area last night, which was repulsed," said Abdul Hanan Hemat, who also heads the state-run Bakhtar news agency.
The attack was part of Masood's plan to recapture Takhar's capital Taloqan from the Taliban troops, he said.
Taloqan, the second major opposition stronghold after Masood's native Panjshir Valley, 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Kabul, was overrun by the Taliban troops in September last year.
After the major military setback, Masood vowed in an interview with AFP that he would recapture Taloqan before the winter last year but has so far failed to flush out the Taliban.
Hemat said the fighting subsided in the morning but Masood supporters suffered heavy losses in their failed attempt to retake Taloqan.
Opposition forces also attacked Nahrin district in the nearby province of Baghlan early Monday but could not score territorial gains, he added.
Hemat claimed the Taliban recaptured most of Zaare district to the south of northern Balkh province in a pre-dawn attack Monday.
The militia lost Zaare to a combined force of Masood loyalists and supporters of ex-communist general Abdul Rashid Dostam on Saturday.
"We launched our attack this morning and only a slice of Zaare is left under the opposition," Hemat said.
But Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, a spokesman for the opposition, rejected the the claim saying the town was still held by the opposition.
Fighting was also reported in Narang district in the eastern province of Kunar, bordering Pakistan, Taliban sources said but details were not available.
Opposition officials claimed Dostam supporters made some inroads into the Gospandi region of Sar-i-Pul province but gave no details.
Sar-i-Pul is located south of Dostam's former stronghold of Jozjan province in northern Afghanistan.
The Taliban militia controls most of Afghanistan while Masood, holding pockets of resistance in the north and northeast, has been resisting their complete domination of the country.
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