Afghanistan government forces plan a counteroffensive in the country's northern provinces after losing ground to the Taliban, Hamdullah Mohib, the Adviser to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for National Security Matters, told Russia's RIA news agency on Monday, July 5. 

The national security adviser said government forces had not expected the Taliban offensive but would “absolutely, definitely” counterattack.

According to Mr. Mohib, Afghans want to be free and they want the Taliban to be represented in the government but they do not want the Taliban to rule all of the country and dictate how the Afghan people should live. 

Meanwhile, Taliban militants have continued to make rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan as the United States said its last remaining troops are expected to withdraw from the country by the end of August.

The Taliban pressured pro-government forces to retreat from at least dozens districts in northern provinces, which border Tajikistan, and more than 1,500 Afghan troops were forced to flee into neighboring Tajikistan during the period from June 22 to July 5.