Tal­iban at­tack Afghan forces check­point, kill 13 sol­diers, po­lice

In­sur­gents hold nearly half coun­try, refuse to ne­go­ti­ate with U.S.-backed gov­ern­ment FULL STORY AT THES­TAR.COM/WORLD

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KABUL—The Tal­iban launched an at­tack early Mon­day on a newly es­tab­lished joint Afghan army and po­lice check­point in east­ern Ghazni prov­ince, killing at least 13 sol­diers and po­lice­men, ac­cord­ing to a provin­cial of­fi­cial.

Afghan re­in­force­ments were sub­se­quently dis­patched to the site of the at­tack in Kh­ogyani dis­trict but were re­peat­edly am­bushed along the way.

The as­sault came as a resur­gent Tal­iban hold nearly half of Afghanistan, with near-daily at­tacks on Afghan se­cu­rity forces. The Tal­iban view the U.S.-backed gov­ern­ment in Kabul as a dys­func­tional West­ern pup­pet and have re­fused re­peated of­fers to ne­go­ti­ate with it.

Arif Noori, spokesman for the provin­cial gov­er­nor in Ghazni, said that seven sol­diers and six po­lice­men were killed. Four sol­diers were also wounded in the early morn­ing at­tack at the check­point.

Ac­cord­ing to the spokesman, six in­sur­gents were killed and more than 10 oth­ers were wounded dur­ing the en­su­ing three-hour bat­tle with Afghan forces.

Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid, a Tal­iban spokesman, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack in a state­ment sent to the me­dia.

The joint check­point was set up just two days ago in a strate­gic area to cut off a sup­ply route for the Tal­iban but was now com­pletely burned down and de­stroyed, Noori said.

“Re­in­force­ments were rushed to as­sist the forces un­der at­tack but they were am­bushed by other Tal­iban fight­ers at least four times while on their way to the check­point,” said Noori.

The Tal­iban have stepped up at­tacks in volatile Ghazni, and in Au­gust over­ran parts of the provin­cial cap­i­tal, also called Ghazni. At the time, hun­dreds of peo­ple fled the city amid in­tense fight­ing be­tween Afghan forces and the Tal­iban that killed about 120 mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces and civil­ians.

Ghazni is the only one out of 34 Afghan prov­inces where the coun­try’s Oc­to­ber par­lia­men­tary elec­tions could not take place for se­cu­rity rea­sons. Vot­ing there has been post­poned for a year.

In south­ern Kan­da­har prov­ince the vote was de­layed for a week af­ter an at­tack by an elite Afghan guard killed two top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing a pow­er­ful provin­cial po­lice chief.

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Afghan se­cu­rity forces pa­trol a site in Ghazni prov­ince ear­lier this year. The Tal­iban at­tacked a check­point in east­ern Ghazni on Mon­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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