But across the country, the insurgents were claiming more territory on Wednesday. The Taliban said that two more areas had fallen to their fighters: Jaghatu district in Ghazni Province in the country’s southeast, and Dara-e Bom in Badghis Province in the northwest, according to a WhatsApp statement from the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
There was no independent confirmation of those claims, and in Badghis Province, Faiz Mohammad, the deputy governor, denied the Taliban assertion on Dara-e Bom. “This area is in government control, and the claims in this regard are untrue,” he said. Officials in Ghazni Province could not immediately be reached.
But Mirza Ali, the departing governor of Qares district, which includes Dara-e Bom, confirmed that government forces abandoned their defense of Dara-e Bom against the Taliban late Tuesday night. He said that there had been 360 soldiers and police officers guarding the strategic area but that all had fled, allowing the insurgents to take control.
A provincial council member in Farah, Dadullah Qani, said that the insurgents left the city after Afghan security forces began searching for them house by house, and that they had left behind booby-trapped bombs.
Mr. Khan, the Farah resident, said that the insurgents mostly left homes and businesses alone, but that they did burn several cafes that served alcohol, leaving notes warning their owners against doing so.
The fighting in Farah was part of a recent increase in the tempo of attacks by the insurgents, since their announcement of a spring offensive late in April and their explicit rejection of Afghan government peace initiatives.
The insurgents now control about 14 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, not counting their advances claimed on Wednesday, with 46 other districts under the group’s influence, according to figures from a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a United States government agency. A third of the population lives in areas controlled, influenced or contested by the Taliban, the report said.
Two districts fell to the insurgents last week, with one of them, Tala Wa Barfak, still in Taliban hands and blocking a strategic highway in Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan. About 200 Afghan police officers and soldiers have been killed in fighting in the past week, according to official accounts.