Around 25 Afghan army soldiers died when their convoy was ambushed by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province, officials said on Tuesday.
Around 20 others were wounded and 16 were taken hostage after hours of fighting in Qaisar district on Monday, Sayed Hashemi, a Provincial Council Member, said.
He said four bodies were recovered by the Afghan army on Monday. Eight others have been recovered by the Afghan Red Crescent Society, an affiliate of the International Red Cross.
The convoy of around 80 vehicles was departing a lone army base in Gormach district that had been abandoned.
They were headed to Maimana, the capital of Faryab, when their convoy was ambushed, Hashemi and Mohammad Saeedi, another provincial council member, said.
Between 10 to 20 vehicles were left on the battlefield together with soldiers’ bodies, both provincial council members said, adding that the vehicles were then destroyed by airstrikes on Monday night.
Saeedi said that, with the base abandoned, Ghormach district is now fully controlled by the Taliban.
They said government forces that were supposed to come and take over from neighbouring Badghis province never came.
The Afghan Defence Ministry was unavailable for comment, in spite several efforts to reach them.
Taliban militants have ramped up attacks on Afghan security forces, their facilities and the Afghan government in the past few months.
Security forces are stretched thin across the war-torn country.
Dozens of Afghan army soldiers were killed in fighting with Taliban militants after their base was surrounded in Faryab province earlier this month.
As Taliban militants gain more territory, their ability to ambush resupply and reinforcement convoys becomes higher.
Sometimes, the convoys are detained for hours, if not days, amid the violence, either because the drivers are taken hostage, or because it is unsafe to continue the journey.
Experts say that the bad supply situation is also because of weak leadership and corruption within the military.
Around 13.8 per cent of Afghan districts are under Taliban control while another 30 per cent are contested, according to a July report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.