RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
November 15, 2018 17:04 GMT
Taliban insurgents attacked a joint police and army outpost in Afghanistan’s western Farah Province, killing at least 38 officers and soldiers, as the onslaught against the country’s security forces mounts, officials say. Provincial council member Khair Mohammad Noorzai told the dpa news agency that the four-hour attack occurred in the early morning of November 15 and killed nearly all of the soldiers and police officers stationed at the joint base. In Kabul, lawmaker Samiullah Samim told the AP that air strikes killed 17 of the Taliban attackers but most managed to flee. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack and said about 80 weapons and several vehicles were captured by militants. Meanwhile, fighting with Taliban militants in two districts of central Ghazni Province has displaced thousands of people, most of them from the minority Shi’ite Hazara population. Some 100 Afghan security forces have been killed in those battles. The resurgent Taliban have mounted increasing numbers of a provincial attacks in their battle to bring down the Western-backed government in Kabul and force out foreign troops. Unofficial reports have estimated that some 45 Afghan police officers or soldiers are killed daily or wounded in attacks by the Taliban and other militants. Afghan security forces have struggled to counter attacks from militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO combat troops in 2014. The remaining Western forces mainly train and advise the Afghan military, although some are still occasionally caught in firefights. U.S. special envoy Zakmay Khalilzad is involved in an effort to persuade Taliban officials to take part in peace talks with Kabul to end the decades-long war. Separately, Russia held peace talks in Moscow on November 9 that included Taliban representatives, but little progress was reported.
Based on reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AP
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