30 Afghan security forces killed by Taliban

2018-06-21 02:47:21 GMT2018-06-21 10:47:21(Beijing Time) Agencies

Taliban fighters killed around 30 Afghan security forces in multiple attacks in western Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, in the deadliest clashes since the militant group ended its cease-fire.

Militants stormed at least two bases belonging to government forces in Badghis Province overnight and ambushed a convoy of reinforcements. Officials said the group may have used the three-day truce, that ended Sunday, to plan the attacks.

"More than half of the fatalities came from the ambush and roadside bomb blasts that hit a reinforcement convoy," provincial governor Abdul Qhafoor Malikzai told AFP.

The other soldiers and police were killed when militants raided their bases, Qhafoor added.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks in a WhatsApp message to journalists.

Provincial council chief Abdul Aziz Bek confirmed the death toll and accused the Taliban of taking advantage of the suspension in fighting to do reconnaissance in the area.

"During the cease-fire the Taliban had sent informants to collect information about the bases and plan the attack," he told AFP.

Badghis governor spokesperson Jamshid Shahabi told AFP that 15 Taliban fighters were also killed and 21 wounded in the attacks on two bases in Bala Murghab district.

The defence ministry issued a statement saying fighting in the area continued as the Taliban faced "stiff resistance" from Afghan security forces.

Further reinforcements had been deployed, the statement said.

It appeared to be the deadliest fighting since the Taliban returned to the battlefield on Monday after refusing a government request to extend their unprecedented three-day cease-fire.

President Ashraf Ghani announced over the weekend that the government's eight-day cease-fire, which had been scheduled to expire on Tuesday, would be prolonged for another 10 days. 

The first formal nationwide cease-fire since the 2001 US-led invasion had sparked extraordinary scenes of Talibanfighters, security forces and civilians happily celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday together.

But the jubilation appeared to alarm Taliban leaders, who on Sunday ordered their fighters to stay at their posts or in areas under their control.

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