MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Taliban fighters killed nearly 60 members of Afghanistan´s beleaguered security forces in a spate of attacks across the country´s north, officials said Monday, as diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year war intensify.
Heavy fighting overnight in four provinces followed a wave of violence across the war-torn country in recent weeks that has left hundreds of civilians, police and soldiers dead.
After seizing a military base in Sar-e-Pul, Taliban fighters were threatening the provincial capital in a situation that could result in "disaster" if reinforcements were not sent, the area´s police chief Abdul Qayom Baqizoy warned. Baqizoy compared the threat to the Taliban´s extraordinary raid last month on the provincial capital of Ghazni -- fighters held large parts of the city located just two hours from Kabul for days.
At least 17 security forces have been killed near Sar-e-Pul city after militants seized a checkpoint in Sayyad district and burned it to the ground, provincial governor Zahir Wahdat told journalists Monday. Air support has been called in, he said. About 39 Taliban fighters have been killed and 14 wounded. "The fighting is still ongoing near the city and the central government is going to send more reinforcements soon," Wahdat said.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan´s north, the Taliban´s elite Red unit attacked several police posts in Kunduz, killing at least 19 officers and wounding around 20, Dasht-e-Archi district chief Nasruddin Saadi said. Insurgents also raided two police checkpoints in Dara-e-Suf district of Samangan province, killing 14 officers, northern Afghanistan police spokesman Sarwar Hussaini said. In Jowzjan province hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed Khomab district centre, near Turkmenistan, killing eight security force members and seizing control of government headquarters, provincial deputy police chief Abdul Hafeez Khashi 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 provincial governor´s spokesman Zabihullah Amani. He said the figure was provisional.