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13 policemen in fresh Taliban attacks in Afghanistan

Officials say the Afghan Taliban fighters attacked security forces right after a roadside bomb attack in Herat’s Shindand district, wounding many and escaping with their weapons.
Taliban attacks overnight in Afghanistan killed at least 13 policemen and wounded several others, officials said on Friday.

In western Herat province, 10 policemen were killed and four were wounded in Shindand district where fighting with the insurgents lasted for hours.

The district governor, Shukrullah Shaker, said a roadside mine and a rocket hit a car carrying police reinforcements sent to the scene, killing the police commander.

There were also fatalities among the Taliban attackers, Shaker said, but it was not clear how many.

He blamed the Taliban for the attack, although no group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

Taliban seize government’s weapons

Herat provincial governor spokesman Jailani Farhad said that two armoured Humvees were destroyed in the attack in Shindand district, adding the Taliban also seized weapons and ammunition during the raid.

Also overnight, the Taliban attacked several police posts in eastern Paktia province, in the provincial capital of Gardez, leaving at least three policemen dead, said Gul Agha Roohani, the province’s police chief.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in Paktia in a text message sent to the media.

On Thursday morning, the Taliban stormed a government compound in the central province of Ghazni, triggering an hours-long gun battle that killed 15, including three top local officials.

Spring offensive

The Taliban frequently attack Afghan security forces and steal their equipment, eroding morale among poorly-paid police and soldiers.

The latest assaults were the deadliest by the Taliban in recent weeks and come as the group prepares to launch its annual spring offensive, which marks the beginning of the traditional fighting season.

The Taliban are under pressure to take up President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks but so far have not responded directly to the proposal.

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