Taleban attack Afghan security forces in north, killing 37

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taleban insurgents have launched separate attacks on Afghan security forces in the country’s north, killing at least 37, provincial officials said yesterday.

Head of the provincial council in Kunduz province Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi said that at least 13 security forces were killed in an attack on a checkpoint they were manning in Dashti Archi district, with another 15 security forces wounded there. The firefight began late Sunday and continued into yesterday morning.

Meanwhile in Jawzjan province, Provincial Police Chief General Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani said the Taleban attacked Khamyab district from different directions, forcing Afghan forces to withdraw from the district headquarters to avoid civilian causalities.

“There was intense fighting and we didn’t want civilian houses destroyed, or any civilian casualties,” said Jawzjani. He said that at least eight policemen were killed and three other police were wounded. Seven Taleban were killed and eight were wounded during the gun battle, he added.

Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the group for the attacks in Kunduz and Jawzjan provinces.

The Taleban also killed another 14 local Afghan policemen and pro-government militiamen in the Dara Suf district of Samangan province, provincial spokesman Sediq Azizi said, adding that six others were also wounded.

Azizi added that three Taleban fighters were killed and four others were wounded during yesterday’s morning battle.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Samangan, but Azizi blamed Taleban insurgents who are active in the province and often target Afghan security forces and local, pro-government militias.

In another report from northern Sari Pul province, provincial police chief General Abdul Qayum Baqizai said that Taleban attacked checkpoints of the army and pro-government militia near the provincial capital, Sari Pul city.

Two pro-government militia fighters were killed and two others wounded, he said, but had no details on any possible casualties among the army.

“The Taleban’s attack has been repelled, but sporadic gun battles are underway at the outskirts of the city,” he added.

The Taleban haven’t yet commented on the fighting in Sari Pul province.