Tal­iban kill twenty po­lice of­fi­cers in raid: Afghanistan of­fi­cials

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MIR­WAIS KHAN AND RAHIM FAIEZ

Tal­iban fighters over­ran mul­ti­ple check­points in a night­time raid in Afghanistan’s volatile south­ern Hel­mand prov­ince, killing at least 20 po­lice of­fi­cers as the battle raged into Satur­day, au­thor­i­ties said.

The as­sault came as Afghanistan’s mil­i­tary ac­knowl­edged the Tal­iban con­trols at least four dis­tricts across the coun­try.

The at­tacks in Hel­mand hit po­lice check­points in the Musa Qala dis­trict, said Mo­ham­mad Is­mail Ho­tak, the head of the prov­ince’s joint co­or­di­na­tion of po­lice and mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions.

He said the at­tacks wounded at least 10 of­fi­cers, though the Tal­iban also seemed to have suf­fered high ca­su­al­ties.

The spokesman for the In­te­rior Min­istry, Sediq Sediqqi, said fight­ing ended Satur­day af­ter­noon with around 30 in­sur­gents killed, in­clud­ing a group leader he named as Ab­dul Hadi.

Saqi Jan, the head of po­lice lo­gis­tics in Musa Qala, said area check­points were manned by of­fi­cers from the neigh­bor­ing dis­trict of Baghran who had been forced out by ear­lier Tal­iban at­tacks.

“Baghran has been un­der Tal­iban con­trol since last year, so th­ese po­lice came to Musa Qala and built them­selves a small com­pound and some check­points,” he said.

The Tal­iban claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks. The mil­i­tants have been tar­get­ing vul­ner­a­ble po­lice check­points across the coun­try since launch­ing their sum­mer of­fen­sive in April. Last month, a Tal­iban attack in Hel­mand’s Naw Zad dis­trict killed at least 19 po­lice of­fi­cers.

Afghan army Gen. Afzel Aman, the head of the De­fense Min­istry’s op­er­a­tional depart­ment, told jour­nal­ists Satur­day that four dis­tricts are now un­der Tal­iban con­trol in the coun­try: Nawa in Ghazni prov­ince, Baghran and Dishu in Hel­mand prov­ince and Khak- e Afghan in Zabul prov­ince.

“Fight­ing is go­ing on al­most ev­ery­where com­pared to last year, and many places are un­der threat of en­emy attack,” Aman said.

Afghan forces are fight­ing alone this year as the U. S. and NATO have ended their com­bat mission and their ca­su­al­ties are soar­ing. Be­tween Jan. 1 and May 7, 2,322 army, po­lice and lo­cal po­lice per­son­nel were killed, 53 per­cent more than the same pe­riod in 2014, ac­cord­ing to NATO.

By com­par­i­son, a to­tal of 2,217 Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers have been killed since the 2001 in­va­sion.

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