Friday, 17 November 2017

Taliban Kill 28 Afghan Police as Attacks Escalate Nationwide

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KABUL: Taliban militants stormed police checkpoints late Saturday and before dawn Sunday in three provinces of Afghanistan, killing 28 policemen in the latest in a series of attacks across the country.

Tens of heavily equipped insurgents, including holders of night-vision rifles, initially began sporadic shooting at three police checkpoints and two army bases on the highway leading to Khan Abad district in northern Kunduz province, said Hayatullah Amiri, the governor of the district, by phone. At about 3 a.m. local time, they stormed one of the police checkpoints, killing all 13 officers stationed there except one who fled.

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It’s not clear how many Taliban fighters were killed in response, but the group suffered heavy casualties in a two-hour gun battle that took place at a checkpoint situated in the Dokan-e-Adam Khan area, Amiri said. The militants captured the post’s weapons and military vehicles, he said.

In two separate incidents late yesterday, the group attacked several police checkpoints in southern Zabul and Ghazni provinces, killing 15 police officers and more than 10 other people, according to local officials. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for all attacks.

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The militants have recently mounted attacks targeting local security forces, weeks after President Donald Trump announced thousands of U.S. troops would join the 8,400 stationed in the country to continue training and advising Afghan forces, as well as help fight the Taliban.

The Taliban’s attacks have been a “significant setback,” and demonstrate a “clear failure” of the Afghan government and Trump’s recent strategy to force the Taliban into peace talks, Jawid Kohistani, a Kabul-based political analyst, said by phone. The Taliban have repeatedly ruled out joining peace talks unless all U.S. and NATO forces leave Afghanistan.

The insurgents have stormed a number of major police and army bases and government facilities across the country in recent weeks, leaving more than 150 police and civilians dead. They attacked an army base in Kandahar and killed 58 soldiers, the single deadliest attack this year.

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