9 Afghan security personnel killed in Taliban attack amid peace talks

Kabul, Sep 28 (efe-epa).- At least nine personnel of the Afghan security forces were killed in a Taliban attack in the central Bamyan province – considered one of the safest in the country – despite the ongoing intra-Afghan peace negotiations in Qatar, officials said Monday.

“At least nine members of the security forces were martyred, two injured and one was taken hostage by the Taliban in the clashes,” Bamyan governor’s spokesperson Latif Azmi told EFE.

Azmi said that the soldiers, members of Afghan social forces, were killed during two days of fighting that ended on Sunday night, involving gunfights and land mine explosions targeting vehicles of the security forces in Shibar district.

Taliban’s presence in the Bamyan province is rare and according to the spokesperson, the Taliban fighters involved in the attack had arrived from the neighboring restive province of Baghlan.

He said that the security forces had regained control of the area by Sunday night and the situation was back to normal after the Taliban fighters were pushed back.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the incident and claimed that “30 members of the special forces were killed and injured” in the attacks, while four armored vehicles had been destroyed.

Bamyan and the northern Panjshir are considered the safest among the 34 Afghan provinces and have rarely witnessed Taliban attacks during the 19 years of war.

Taliban had launched a similar armed attack against Afghan security forces in Panjshir earlier this month, although it was repelled within a few hours. This attack was also carried out by militants who had arrived from a neighboring province, Laghman.

The attacks could signify an attempt by the Taliban to show that it had the capability to expand to areas considered safe and outside its influence.

The incident comes at a time when representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding initial meetings for the ongoing peace negotiations in Doha for the last 17 days.

A ceasefire between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban is expected to be one of the top points on the agenda of the negotiators.

However, the discussions have remained stuck over various disagreements, including the role of the United States’ agreement with the Taliban in the peace process, as the insurgents demanded on Sunday that the talks should be based on their agreement with Washington signed in February. EFE-EPA


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