KABUL, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Taliban militants, who have been fighting the government to regain power and re-establish their reign in Afghanistan, have stepped up attacks since launching their so-called spring offensive in late April.
The spring offensive, dubbed "Operation Mansouri" named after Taliban's former leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on May 22, 2016, was announced by the armed group on April 28 and since then the militants have carried out series of operations in parts of Afghanistan.
So far, the Taliban fighters have overrun the strategically important Qala-e-Zal district in the northern Kunduz province along the border with Tajikistan.
Local observers believe that the capture of Qala-e-Zal would help Taliban militants expand their control of neighboring Chardara and Imam Sahib districts to destabilize the adjoining areas.
Days earlier, the Taliban militants briefly captured Zebak district in the northern Badakhshan province. However, government forces after launching counter offensive and inflicting causalities on Taliban fighters, recaptured the strategically important Zebak district close to the Pakistan border on Thursday, according to local officials.
Taliban militants, who confirmed the capture of Qala-e-Zal district, have yet to make comment on the reported recapturing of Zebak district by the government forces.
Observers believe the current year would prove to be a challenging one for Afghan security forces as both the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) groups would continue to increase operations in the insurgency-battered country.