On May 20, Mohammad Yousef Ahmadi, spokesman for the Taliban, claimed in an official statement that Taliban fighters had captured the center of the Ajristan district of the southeastern Ghazni province after heavy clashes with the Afghan Army and Police.
According to Ahmadi, many provincial officials, including the district governor and the commander of the local police fled the center of the Ajristan district right before it had been captured by the Taliban, while 12 Afghan Army soldiers had surrendered. The Taliban spokesman also claimed that over 34 service members of the Afghan Army and Police had been killed by Taliban fighters during the attack.
The Taliban launched its attack on the Ajristan district center on May 19 besieging the district center and capturing several positions of the Afghan Army and Police around it. The attack is a part of the Taliban spring offensive, codenamed “Operation al-Khandagh”, which was launched on April 25, according to the Taliban news agency Voice of Jihad.
Meanwhile, the Afghan TOLO TV denounced the Taliban’s claims and said that the Afghan Army and Police are still clashing with Taliban fighters inside the Ajristan district center. Security sources also told TOLO that Afghan commandos units had been deployed in Ajristan by air to support the local forces there.
Despite of the Afghan Army and Police efforts, observers believe that only a direct intervention from the NATO can allow them to defend the Ajristan district center. Afghan sources already reported that NATO warplanes had carried out some airstrikes on the Taliban positions around the district center.