14 Afghan soldiers killed; 21 cap­tured

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - International -

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Tal­iban staged a co­or­di­nated at­tack overnight on two Afghan army out­posts in west­ern Herat prov­ince, killing 14 Afghan soldiers and tak­ing 21 cap­tive, a pro­vin­cial of­fi­cial said Fri­day, the lat­est in a se­ries of daily at­tacks by in­sur­gents on the coun­try’s be­lea­guered na­tional se­cu­rity forces.

Herat pro­vin­cial coun­cil mem­ber Na­jibul­lah Mo­hebi said the as­sault be­gan late on Thurs­day in Shin­dand dis­trict. Fight­ing lasted for six hours be­fore re­in­force­ments ar­rived and re­pulsed the in­sur­gents — but not be­fore they cap­tured 21 troops.

How­ever, De­fense Min­istry spokesman Ghafor Ah­mad Jaweed put the num­ber of army dead and wounded at 10. The dif­fer­ent ac­counts could not im­me­di­ately be rec­on­ciled.

Ac­cord­ing to Shin­dand dis­trict chief Hek­mat­ul­lah Hek­mat, as many as 200 Tal­iban fighters took part in the at­tack, us­ing rocket-pro­pelled grenade launch­ers and au­to­matic ma­chine guns.

Hek­mat said 30 Tal­iban were killed in the fight­ing, which con­tin­ued spo­rad­i­cally in the area on Fri­day, mostly about 7 miles from the dis­trict cap­i­tal, Shin­dand.

Tal­iban spokesman Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, say­ing on Twit­ter that the in­sur­gents seized a “size­able amount of am­mu­ni­tion” and equip­ment. He gave a higher toll for Afghan ca­su­al­ties, but in­sur­gents of­ten ex­ag­ger­ate their claims.

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