Conflicts & War

Fresh Taliban attacks kill 32 troopers, say Afghan officials

Kabul, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- At least 32 security police and army personnel have been killed in a fresh wave of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan, officials said on Monday.

Of the 32, 18 were killed in an overnight attack in the northeastern Takhar province, nine in the northern Balkh province and five in the southern Uruzgan province.

Provincial governor’s spokesperson Jawad Hijri told EFE that the Taliban attack in Takhar began at 11 pm on Sunday and lasted until 3 am.

Hijri said the insurgents also suffered casualties, but their exact number was not clear.

A provincial security official in Balkh told EFE on the condition of anonymity that at least four members of the security forces were also injured in an attack overnight in the Shulgara district.

In Uruzgan province, several police check posts came under Taliban attack early Monday, with the clashes lasting nearly eight hours in the east of Tirinkot city, the capital of Uruzgan province.

“After several hours of fighting, five members of the police were killed and two were injured,” Uruzgan governor’s spokesperson Zargai Ebadi told EFE.

He said security forces also killed two Taliban fighters before the attackers were pushed back.

The Taliban have not claimed responsibility for the attacks. Its spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was investigating the attacks to know who carried them out.

Taliban attacks across the country have increased over the past seven weeks, following a reduction in violence towards the end of February that paved the way for the US-Taliban peace agreement.

The peace deal, signed in the Qatari capital of Doha on Feb.29, included an agreement for the release of some 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces.

The prisoner exchange deal was supposed to serve as a precursor to the commencement of intra-Afghan talks to usher in peace in the country after nearly 20 years.

However, the process was affected by a disagreement between the insurgents and the government, leading to the Taliban negotiating team pulling out of the prisoner exchange talks earlier this month.

Although both sides have unilaterally released some prisoners in an attempt to adhere to the Doha agreement, violence has continued unabated in the country, resulting in civilian casualties.

The Taliban resumed their attacks barely a day after signing the agreement but stopped claiming them in their daily statements.

On the other hand, the insurgents have completely stopped attacking foreign troops after signing the deal with the US.

They have claimed they will only stop their attacks on Afghan troops after negotiating a separate ceasefire with the Afghan government during intra-Afghan talks. EFE-EPA


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