14 Afghan soldiers killed; 21 captured
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.