Tuesday, 18 Dec 2018
World

Afghan official: Taliban kill 14 soldiers in the west of the province

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban organized a coordinated attack Sunday against two Afghan army outposts in the western province of Herat, killing 14 Afghan soldiers and capturing 21 other prisoners, a provincial official said on Friday. last of a series of daily attacks against the country. the besieged national security forces.

Najibullah Mohebi, a member of Herat Provincial Council, said the assault had started on Thursday night in Shindand District. The fighting lasted six hours before the reinforcements arrived and repelled the insurgents – but not before the capture of 21 soldiers.

However, Defense Ministry spokesman Ghafor Ahmad Jaweed estimated the number of dead and wounded in the army at 10. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled.

According to Shindand District Chief Hekmatullah Hekmat, 200 Taliban fighters reportedly took part in the attack, using grenade launchers and automatic machine guns.

According to Mr. Hekmat, 30 Taliban were killed in fighting that sporadically continued Friday in the region, mainly about 12 km from the district capital, Shindand, probably as part of an attempt to disrupt the road connecting the district to the province of Herat. , a Taliban country.

The distance from the area makes it impossible to check the reports.

The Taliban, who have not claimed responsibility for the attack, have been active in the region and have targeted Afghan security forces throughout the country during daily attacks.

The upsurge of violence comes as the United States pushes for a peaceful resolution of the 17-year-long conflict, as the Taliban has increasingly asserted control over vast areas of the country. A US Congress-mandated monitoring agency estimates that about half of Afghanistan is under the Taliban's control or under the influence of the militant group. Washington has committed $ 4 billion a year to fund, train and equip Afghan forces.

The war, the longest in the United States, has cost the United States about $ 1 trillion since the Taliban was overthrown in 2001 and, even though most of the money has been spent on security, the security situation continues to deteriorate in much of the country.

The appointment in September of Afghan American Zalmay Khalilzad as the US special envoy responsible for finding a peaceful outcome to the conflict has accelerated efforts to bring both sides to the negotiating table. Khalilzad, who was in Islamabad earlier this week, is currently in Afghanistan for a tour of the region and will also make stops in Moscow and Brussels.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.

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