KABUL: At least 14 policemen and seven Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers have been killed in a fierce firefight with Taliban in the Nawzad district of southern Helmand province, an official said Tuesday.
A provincial council member Attaullah Afghan said a group of militants stormed a number of security posts in Nawzad district on Monday night.
Fourteen policemen including district crime branch chief and seven ANA soldiers were killed during the fight, he said, adding that six other police personnel suffered injuries. A tank and some weapons and ammunition were also seized by rebels.
The security committee head of the provincial council Bashir Ahmad Shakir expressed concern about the increasing insecurity in the province.
He said that security forces have suffered heavy casualties in Sangin and Musa Kala districts during several rebels’ attacks in the past two days.
He linked the deteriorated situation to the negligence of the central government and said security of northern districts and central areas of the province would also get worse if focus was not shifted to ameliorate the situation.
A security official wishing anonymity confirmed the death of 14 policemen in the battle.
Deputy Helmand Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoolyar confirmed casualties suffered by security forces in Nawzad but he did not provide exact figure into casualties.
He said that rebels also suffered casualties in the firefight.
Other security officials including provincial police chief, intelligence chief and ANA officials refused to provide details about the Nawzad attack.
Pajhwok Afghan News made several attempts to get the view point of residents about security but could not access the area because of unavailability of communication.
A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed killing 26 security personnel and wounding 11 others in the fight. He said that some ammunition and weapons were also seized by rebels. Ahmadi confirmed the death of five militants in the clash. (PAN)