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AFP
December 15, 2019

Nine Afghan forces killed in Taliban insider attack

World

AFP
December 15, 2019

GHAZNI, AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban have killed nine Afghan soldiers in an insider attack in central Afghanistan, the military said Saturday, underscoring the dangers Afghan forces face from within their own ranks.

The Afghan National Army troops “were martyred by Taliban terrorists in Qarabagh district of Ghazni province” on Friday night, the Afghan defence ministry said on Twitter.

Defence ministry spokesman Fawad Aman later told AFP the troops had been killed by Taliban infiltrators.

Such attacks, sometimes referred to as “green on green,” are a constant threat in the war-torn country for international and Afghan forces alike.

Aman denied a report from a member of Ghazni´s provincial council that 23 Afghan security forces had been killed.

The Taliban, meanwhile, claimed they had overrun an “enemy base” in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province and killed dozens of security forces.

Friday´s attack underscores the ongoing dangers Afghan and allied forces face from Taliban fighters pretending to be loyal to the government.

On July 29, an Afghan soldier killed two US troops as they were visiting an Afghan army base in Kandahar.

That came two weeks after another Afghan soldier shot and killed an influential Afghan army colonel while he was conducting a security assessment in Ghazni province.

The continued violence comes as the US and the Taliban hold on-again, off-again talks aimed at ending America´s longest war.

Afghan election challenger allows recount: Afghan presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah on Friday ended his opposition to a recount in seven provinces after the September 28 election, which has been mired in fraud allegations.

The vote results have been repeatedly delayed — officially due to technical problems — as the incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah wrangle for power.

Abdullah had refused to allow the recount in seven northern provinces, demanding that the electoral commission first invalidate about 300,000 “fraudulent” ballots out of a total of 1.8 million.

But on Friday, Abdullah, who currently serves as the country´s chief executive, said the recount could go ahead — potentially ending one obstacle to results finally being released.

“I call on the dignified people of Afghanistan to let the recount take place in seven provinces (out of a total of 34),” he told a press conference.

“Today the conflict and problem is between fraud and transparency — one side committed fraud and the other side wants transparency.”

The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistan´s young democracy, with a German firm supplying biometric machines to stop people from voting more than once.

But nearly a million of the initial votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll.

The ongoing uncertainty has raised the risk of a repeat of the crisis that followed the last presidential election in 2014.

Then, Ghani and Abdullah fought a close race that sparked widespread allegations of fraud and saw the US step in to broker an awkward power-sharing agreement between the rivals.