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Taliban kill 40 in Afghanistan amid peace talks in Moscow

KABUL: At least 40 Afghan forces including army and local policemen were killed on Monday in an overnight Taliban attack on security outposts in northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces despite the beginning of peace talks between Taliban and Afghan politicians in Moscow.

The attacks come as the Taliban started negotiations with Afghan politicians including former President Hamid Karzai, opposition leaders and tribal elders, but not Kabul government officials in Moscow. Amid intense intra-Afghan talks in Russia, Taliban insurgents killed at least 11 policemen in an attack on a police checkpoint in northern Baghlan province, provincial officials said on Tuesday.

In the checkpoint attack, the Taliban targeted the local police force in the province’s Baghlani Markazi district on Monday night, triggering a gunfight that lasted for almost two hours, said Safdar Mohseni, head of the provincial council.

The insurgents, he said, looted equipment of the local police. Five policemen were also wounded and the Taliban seized all the weapons and ammunition from the checkpoint before reinforcements arrived, he said.

“They arrived there late, fought back and managed to get the checkpoint under control,” he added.

Deputy Provincial Council for Kunduz Safiullah Amiri said that Taliban attacked security checkpoints in Talawka and Khwaja Pak area of Kunduz after midnight, which resulted at killing of 27 army forces and three local police.

He said that 10 to 15 other security forces were wounded in the attack. He said that Taliban also suffered casualties during counterattack by Afghan forces in the area, but no figures in hand.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry said in a statement that an enemy attack was repelled and 22 ‘terrorists’ were killed in Kunduz province Monday night.

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