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Dozens of Afghan troops killed in clashes in Takhar

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KABUL: Dozens of Afghan security forces were killed Tuesday night during clashes with the Taliban militants in northern Takhar province as the Taliban unleash a wave of attacks across Afghanistan targeting Afghan forces, local officials said Wednesday.

Taliban staged an overnight attack on Masjid Safid area in Baharak district on Tuesday, prompting an immediate response by Takhar’s deputy police chief, Raz Mohammad Doorandish, and 25 of security guards. They were all killed in clashes that broke out later in the night, said Takhar gubernatorial spokesman, Javad Hejri.

He said the Taliban suffered heavy casualties.

Another source said the number of those security forces who were killed or are missing is large.

“Around 60 security force members were sent on an operation in Baharak district to clear the insurgents, but 12 of them were wounded while 48 other security forces are still missing,” said a source.

Overnight clashes also erupted in Khwaja Ghar district of Takhar in which three local policemen were killed and five wounded. Hejri said the Taliban were defeated and ousted from the district.

The Taliban have been staging near-daily attacks that target soldiers, security forces and government officials but also kill scores of civilians.

Helmand province has seen deadly clashes in recent week after the Taliban staged a full-blown attack on parts of the province early last week. Tens of thousands of people have been forced by the fighting to flee to neighboring cities. US forces have also conducted several airstrikes to target the Taliban.

The fighting prompted denunciations from Washington. The US special envoy for Afghanistan condemned the Taliban for violating the US-Taliban peace deal by attacking Helmand. The accusation was followed by recrimination by the Taliban, accusing the US of violating their mutual accord by carrying out several airstrikes against the militants.

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