FAIZABAD - Taliban militants after fierce fighting have overrun the district headquarters of Kohistan district in the northern Badakhshan province, a local official said Friday.

“Following a massive offensive, the Taliban rebels captured the headquarters of Kohistan district on Thursday evening,” the official told Xinhua but refused to be identified saying authorised officials would talk to media.

Meantime, a security personnel Ahmad Jawed has confirmed the presence of Taliban militants in the headquarters of Kohistan district but asserted that the security forces would soon launch counter-offensive to “evict militants” from the area.

Confirming the incident, Sanaullah Ruhani the spokesman for police in provincial capital Faizabad said that “fighting has been continuing close to the district headquarters” to evict the insurgents. Neither Taliban outfit nor senior security officials have made comment. Taliban militants have already control over Yamgan and Wardoj districts in Badakhshan province.

INTERPRETERS TO REMAIN IN UK

AFP adds: Four hundred Afghan interpreters who served British armed forces in 13 years of combat operations will be allowed to remain in Britain free of charge, government ministers said in London on Friday.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement in one of his first moves in the post - after a scandal over threatened deportations of Caribbean immigrants forced his predecessor Amber Rudd to step down.

“The local Afghan interpreters worked in dangerous and challenging situations, regularly putting their lives at risk,” he said in a statement.

“We have always been clear that they will be able to stay in the UK with their families and today I have announced that they will be able to do this for free.”

After being appointed on Monday, Javid had promised a “fair and humane” immigration system.

Previously Afghan interpreters - who performed their services sometimes at risk to themselves and their families - faced a fee of £2,398 ($3,248) to secure permanent settlement.

More than 150 translators who served in Helmand province - which saw some of the fiercest combat in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 - wrote to ministers saying they had been “left in limbo” by the “shameful and indefensible policy”, according to British media. In total, the interior ministry says 400 interpreters are in Britain after being made redundant when the “military drawdown” of combat forces in Afghanistan started at the end of 2012. They were offered relocation as they “faced particular danger in their role”, the ministry said.

Now those interpreters who have been in Britain for five years, as well as their families, will have the costs waived.

“In addition, the Home Office has committed to looking again at what can be done to make the process easier for Afghan interpreters to bring family members still in Afghanistan over to the UK,” the statement said.Legislation required to enact the changes will be introduced in July. “It clearly wasn’t right that after putting their lives on the line for us that we then expected them to pay for the right to stay in this country,” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote in an editorial for The Times on Friday.