17 killed as security forces clash with Taliban

Security forces clashed with Taliban fighters in key locations in northern Afghanistan on Monday, with dozens of people killed and the city of Sar-e Pul threatened by insurgents, officials said.

By TT Bureau in Kabul
  • Published 11.09.18
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Kabul: Security forces clashed with Taliban fighters in key locations in northern Afghanistan on Monday, with dozens of people killed and the city of Sar-e Pul threatened by insurgents, officials said.

Fighting has raged around the provincial capital of Sar-e Pul for two days and at least 17 members of the security forces have been killed in the past 24 hours, according to the governor's spokesman Zabihullah Amani. He said the figure was provisional and the real number of casualties may be higher.

The increasingly fragile situation in the north presents a major early challenge to Gen. Scott Miller, the new commander of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, who took up his post earlier this month.

US officials have pressed for talks with the Taliban and recently appointed former ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative to try to push the peace process forward.

Last month, Taliban forces briefly overran the strategic city of Ghazni, on the main highway between Kabul and southern Afghanistan, and the latest incidents point to continued heavy fighting, dampening hopes for peace talks.

The Taliban's main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters had overrun checkpoints no more than 5km from Sar-e Pul city centre and seized a large quantity of weapons and equipment. Amani said fighting was under way on the main highway into Jawzjan province. PTI

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