Tal­iban mur­der 11 Afghan sol­diers in am­bush: of­fi­cials

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AREF KARIMI

At least 11 Afghan sol­diers have been killed in a Tal­iban am­bush in western Afghanistan, of­fi­cials said Mon­day, as troops face their first fight­ing sea­son with­out NATO com­bat sup­port.

The mil­i­tants launched their an­nual spring-sum­mer of­fen­sive in late April, vow­ing na­tion­wide at­tacks in what is ex­pected to be the blood­i­est sum­mer for a decade.

Afghan troops and po­lice, stretched on mul­ti­ple fronts and fac­ing record ca­su­al­ties, are strug­gling to rein in the mil­i­tants even as the gov­ern­ment makes re­peated ef­forts to jump-start peace ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“The Tal­iban am­bushed a con­voy of sol­diers in Karukh dis­trict of Herat, killing 11 Afghan army sol­diers last evening. The sol­diers were rid­ing in pickup trucks,” Ehsanullah Hayat, spokesman for the gover­nor of the western province of Herat, told AFP.

Na­jibul­lah Na­jibi, a spokesman for the army in western Afghanistan, con­firmed the at­tack and said four sol­diers were wounded.

The Tal­iban have stepped up their at­tacks on Afghan se­cu­rity forces since the start of their spring of­fen­sive, named (De­ter­mi­na­tion) this year.

NATO’s com­bat mis­sion for­mally ended in De­cem­ber af­ter 13 years, but a small fol­low-up for­eign force named Res­o­lute Sup­port has stayed on to train and sup­port lo­cal se­cu­rity forces.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent dozens of protesters took to the streets in Charikar, the cap­i­tal of Par­wan province north of Kabul, on Mon­day to com­plain about an op­er­a­tion by for­eign forces overnight.

They were un­happy that a house was raided and an am­mu­ni­tion cache de­stroyed in the Bayaan dis­trict of the province.

The NATO mis­sion con­firmed the op­er­a­tion by US forces.

Its aim was “to de­stroy a cache of mu­ni­tions that could be used to con­duct at­tacks against Afghans and coali­tion forces,” a spokesman told AFP.

Protesters set tyres on fire in the main mar­ket and chanted anti-Amer­i­can slo­gans, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal TV re­ports.

“The peo­ple got an­gry be­cause they (for­eign forces) det­o­nated the cache at mid­night while they were sleep­ing,” said pro­vin­cial po­lice chief Gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Za­man Mamoozai.

“Azm”

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