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Sunday October 24, 2021

18 Afghan troops killed in Taliban attack

REUTERS
March 11, 2018

LASHKAR GAH: As many as 18 Afghan soldiers and members of the special forces have been killed in fighting in the western province of Farah, local officials said on Saturday.

Taliban fighters attacked troops assembled to prepare an attack in Bala Buluk district in the night, setting off a fierce battle, officials said.

Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said four members of the special forces had been killed and a number wounded, but the head of the local provincial council, Farid Bakhtawar, said the death toll had reached at least 18.As the fighting went on, an air strike was called in and killed around 25 insurgents, he said.

In a message posted on Twitter, a Taliban spokesman said 53 commandos had been killed or wounded after arriving in Tapa Sadat, close to the Bala Buluk district centre, and a sizeable quantity of weapons seized.U.S.

and Afghan officials say the Taliban have been under increasingly heavy pressure from air strikes and army operations but the insurgents have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to inflict severe damage on Afghan security forces.

This week´s incident was the latest in a series to have hit Farah province, between the border with Iran and the Taliban heartland of Helmand province, source of much of Afghanistan´s opium crop.

It came ahead of an expected increase in fighting with the end of winter and the approach of spring.

Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference: The Taliban urged Islamic scholars on Saturday not to take part in a conference due to take place in Indonesia aimed at building agreement and support for possible future peace talks in Afghanistan.

The call follows President Ashraf Ghani´s offer last month to hold peace talks with the Taliban and comes as international powers have sought to build pressure on the movement to accept negotiations to end more than 16 years of war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have so far proved unresponsive to the offer. And on Saturday they said the proposed conference of religious scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia was merely intended to “legitimize the presence of infidel invaders in the Islamic country of Afghanistan”.

The conference, proposed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo in January and due to be held later this month, was an effort to present “the sacred Jihad in Afghanistan as unlawful bloodshed”, the Taliban said in a statement.

“Do not afford an opportunity to the invading infidels in Afghanistan to misuse your name and participation in this conference as means of attaining their malicious objective. “Fighting to drive out international forces and re-establish their version of strict Islamic law, the Taliban control or contest large areas of Afghanistan and inflict heavy casualties on government security forces.