The Afghan National Army lost 96 soldiers in a week while fighting the Taliban and other groups, a sharp rise in casualties against the backdrop of increased violence across the country.
The Afghan defence ministry said 12 soldiers were killed in counter-terrorism operations on Tuesday alone, according to Khaama Press. The latest figures reflected an unprecedented rise in army casualties when compared to previous years. In the past, the figure for casualties was four soldiers a day.
Over the past week, 10 soldiers were killed on October 4, 13 on October 5, 12 on October 6, nine on October 7, 22 on October 8 and 18 on October 9, the ministry said in a statement.
Hundreds of militants, including members of the Islamic State, were also killed during the same period.
“The Afghan National Army forces are prepared for all kinds of devotion and with all force to maintain security and comfort for the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have attempted to overrun several provincial capitals, from Kunduz and Baghlan in the north to Farah in the west, but Afghan forces managed to repel the attacks.
The Taliban captured Ghormach district in northern Faryab province on Tuesday when security forces retreated from the area after heavy fighting. Vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum left Kabul for Faryab on the instructions of President Ashraf Ghani to take charge of the military operation to push back the Taliban.
Also on Tuesday, Taliban fighters renewed an offensive against Farah, triggering heavy fighting that lasted hours. A regional police spokesman said security forces pushed back the attack, killing more than a dozen militants.
More than 300 Afghan commandos backed by NATO air strikes have been deployed in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, to drive back the Taliban from the southern city after militants killed 14 people in a coordinated attack on Monday.