KABUL, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Fighting between government forces and the Taliban fighters for the control of the strategically important Bala Murghab district in the western Badghis province has gotten impetus as both sides have claimed victory.
Afghan Defense Ministry in a statement released Sunday said that the Taliban militants had suffered huge casualties.
According to the statement, the militants have lost grounds following heavy artillery and airstrikes in and around Bala Murghab district over the past couple of days.
Taliban's attempts to overrun the district begun about one month ago but got intensified some 10 days ago after the attacking militants overrun some checkpoints and tightened the noose around the district headquarters.
The militants in a bid to capture Bala Murghab district also stormed the neighboring Ab Kamari district and gained ground.
Taliban fighters, according to Abdul Nasir Nazari, a member of Badghis Provincial Council, captured the headquarters of Ab Kamari district on Friday night, but the government forces recaptured it on Saturday.
The government forces, according to the state-run media outlet, the Bakhtar News Agency (BNA), have foiled Taliban's design to overrun Ab Kamari district after inflicting casualties on the insurgent group.
However, fighting for the control of Bala Murghab district has been intensified and scores of fighters from both sides have been killed over the past one week.
Zabihullah Majahid who claimed to speak for the Taliban outfit, in contact with media has claimed that the armed group had overrun police headquarters and prison in the besieged district, besides inflicting casualties on security personnel and capturing several security checkpoints.
Rejecting the claim, Defense Ministry emphasized that the militants' siege to police headquarters and security checkpoints had been broken and the militants fled away after suffering huge casualties.