Taliban Commander Who Led Attack on Afghan City Was Released From Prison Last Year, Officials Say

KABUL—The Taliban commander overseeing an assault on the crucial southern town of Lashkargah is one of five,000 previous prisoners introduced by the Afghan governing administration last year less than pressure from the U.S., Afghan and Western officers say.

The commander, Mawlavi Talib, is one of 1000’s of previous prisoners freed to additional peace talks who have returned to the battlefield to sign up for the Taliban onslaught versus towns all-around the nation, Afghan officers say. The presence of the Taliban fighters is a refreshing pressure in relations involving Washington and Kabul, as the U.S.-backed governing administration struggles to fend off Taliban attacks through the nation.

Afghan officers explained intense preventing continued Tuesday in Lashkargah, the provincial capital of Helmand province, soon after large U.S. airstrikes and a counterattack by U.S.-properly trained Afghan commandos right away. Underneath Mr. Talib’s command, hundreds of Taliban have pushed toward the town heart above the past week. On Tuesday they launched an assault on Lashkargah’s jail in a bid to launch far more inmates and recruit them into the fight.

The preventing in Lashkargah is element of a wider countrywide Taliban offensive that experienced captured fifty percent of the country’s distant districts by last month and now threatens provincial capitals. On Tuesday, the governing administration explained that its commandos launched a counterattack in the western town of Herat, whose defenses have been teetering. Taliban forces last month pierced defenses in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s next largest town, but governing administration forces are keeping constant there.

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry explained Tuesday its forces killed all-around 375 Taliban and wounded 193 in preventing across the nation in the last 24 several hours. Eleven improvised explosive products have been uncovered and defused, the ministry explained. The Afghan governing administration has stopped releasing data on its own navy casualties to prevent demoralizing its troops.