Dozens of Afghan cops killed as Taliban raid security posts - Saudi Gazette

Dozens of Afghan cops killed as Taliban raid security posts

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KABUL — Taliban fighters stormed some 15 security posts in three different districts in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province overnight, killing at least 27 policemen, officials said on Tuesday.

Matiullah Helal, acting provincial police spokesman, said 22 police were killed and at least 15 others were wounded when insurgents stormed various security posts in two districts on Monday night. He said the attacks took place in the Maywand and Zhari districts and some gun battles lasted for hours. He said 45 Taliban were killed and 35 others wounded.

Naway District Gov. Sarajuddin Sarhadi said five local police were also killed at checkpoints in his district, including a post commander.

Khalid Pashtun, a member of parliament from the region, put the total number of police killed in Kandahar at 37 and 30 wounded.

The Taliban, who have stepped up their attacks against Afghan security forces, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In one of the attacks militants used an explosives-packed police pickup to ambush a checkpoint, Helal said.

At least 15 policemen were wounded in the coordinated assaults.

The attack on the US military convoy in Kandahar added to the casualty toll.

“There were a total of four US service members injured and all are in stable condition in US medical treatment facilities,” a spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan said, adding there were no fatalities.

Farah governor spokesman Naser Mehri said nine Afghan National Army soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in the province bordering Iran that also claimed the lives of at least three civilians.

“There are signs the Taliban may have used night vision technology to approach and surprise our forces, though they were spotted before reaching the posts and suffered casualties,” Mehri said.

The Taliban have intensified attacks on security installations across the country in recent weeks in a show of strength as the United States deploys more troops to train and assist Afghan forces.

Analysts said the Taliban’s almost daily attacks are intended to show their ability to strike even heavily defended targets with the aim of further demoralizing Afghan forces already beset by huge casualties and desertions.

The Taliban often use bomb-laden armored Humvees and police vehicles stolen from Afghan security forces to blast their way into security compounds.

The tactic was used multiple times last month with devastating effect: hundreds were killed and wounded over a bloody few days that left military bases and police headquarters destroyed or severely damaged.

Afghan security forces have faced soaring casualties in their attempts to hold back the insurgents since NATO combat forces pulled out of the country at the end of 2014.

Casualties leapt by 35 percent in 2016, with 6,800 soldiers and police killed, according to US watchdog SIGAR.

The insurgents have carried out more complex attacks against security forces in 2017, with SIGAR describing troop casualties in the early part of the year as “shockingly high”.

In August, Trump announced that American forces would stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, increasing attacks on militants and deploying more troops. — AFP


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