On August 19, Taliban fighters captured the district center of Bilchiragh in the northern province of Faryab following a rapid attack on government positions in the area, according to the Taliban news agency Voice of Jihad. The Afghan group said that Afghan government forces in the district center surrendered after hearing about the attack.
“The enemy troops have laid arms before Mujahedeen after getting news of Mujahedeen attacks, saving their precious lives, Mujahedeen accepted their surrendering, terming their move beneficent for religion and country,” a statement of the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad reads.
Fawzia Raufi, a Member of Parliament from Faryab, told the Afghan TOLO TV that Afghan National Army Soldiers (ANA) in Bilchiragh were forced to surrender to the Taliban as no reinforcements or supplies had been sent to them.
“The soldiers fought until they had no more bullets; they will surrender only when they have used all bullets; they finished their bullets and were forced to surrender and the district collapsed,” Raufi said.
According to the Taliban, the attack on Bilchiragh was a part of its spring offensive, codenamed “Operation al-Khandagh”, which was launched on April 25 in response to Washington’s decision to increase the US military presence in Afghanistan.
Few hours after the attack on Bilchiragh, Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, announced a conditional ceasefire with the Taliban from August 20 to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday. According to the Guardian, Taliban sources said that their leaders had provisionally agreed to the proposed ceasefire.
In June, the Afghan government and the Taliban agreed to a similar ceasefire to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday. This ceasefire was very successful.