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Attacks in five provinces kill 64 members of Afghan security forces

Afghanistan is not safe – At least 64 Afghan soldiers have been killed in Taliban attacks in the provinces of Kandahar, Nimroz, Ghazni, Balkh and Farah, officials said on Thursday.

Forty-three Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar.

Nine others were wounded in the attack, which started at 2:30 am on Thursday (2000 GMT on Wednesday), a statement from the ministry of defence said. Only two of the soldiers stationed at the base escaped the attack unhurt.

Khalid Pashtoon, a Kandahar representative in the Afghan parliament, said the Taliban blew up two stolen military vehicles loaded with explosives at the gate of the army base. Other militants pushed in and started a firefight with army soldiers, which continued until 7 am.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a text to media outlets that 60 members of the Afghan security forces were killed.

More attacks on the Afghan security forces became known on Thursday afternoon.

Five policemen were killed after Taliban militants attacked a security post in Afghanistan’s south-western Nimroz province on Thursday morning, Mohammad Omari, a spokesman for Nimroz police, told dpa.

He said three policemen were injured in the incident that took place on the highway between the provincial capital Zaranj and Delaram at 2 am on Thursday. 

In eastern Ghazni province, four police officers were killed and eight others were injured in heavy clashes with Taliban militants, Mohammad Qasem Disiwal, the district governor for Andar, said.

Disiwal said the Taliban had attacked the main town in the district on Wednesday and were targeting Afghan security forces some 300 hundred meters from the district governor’s building and the police headquarters, but added that reinforcements would soon arrive.

The attacks took place just a day after 30 members of the Afghan security forces and civilians were killed in Taliban attacks and a bombing in the same district.

In a plea to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Ghazni lawmaker Mohammad Arif Rahmani posted on his Facebook page, “Please act fast to save the soldiers and people of Andar.”

Six Afghan policemen were killed after the Taliban ambushed a patrol in the northern province of Balkh on Wednesday night, Balkh police spokesman Sher Jan Durani told dpa.

In Farah, a Taliban attack on a police checkpoint on Wednesday night left six police dead and one other wounded.

In recent months, the Taliban have been attacking the Afghan security forces on a weekly – and sometimes daily – basis.

On Tuesday morning, they attacked a police training centre in the eastern province of Paktia, killing 48 people, including about 20 civilians. The province’s police chief also was killed.

Western military officials have seen what they call “breathtaking losses” among Afghan security forces since the end of the NATO combat mission and the withdrawal of most international soldiers in December 2014.

In 2016, more than 8,000 soldiers and policemen died, and more than 14,000 were injured, according to official reports.

The US and some NATO states are now sending thousands of additional soldiers to Afghanistan. The US has also significantly intensified its air raids on the Taliban.

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