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Taliban overrun two outposts, kill 15 soldiers

Updated May 11, 2019

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The Taliban have inflicted staggering casualties on Afghanistan’s security forces in relentless attacks over the past year. — AFP/File
The Taliban have inflicted staggering casualties on Afghanistan’s security forces in relentless attacks over the past year. — AFP/File

KABUL: An Afghan official says the Taliban have launched an assault on two security outposts in western Badghis province, killing 15 security personnel in the latest in a series of deadly attacks targeting the country’s beleaguered security forces.

Another 11 soldiers were hurt in the onslaught early on Friday.

Ziauddinn Akazai, a lawmaker in the province, said the Taliban overran the two outposts in Bala Murghab district. Defence Ministry spokesman Col. Qais Mangal confirmed the attack but refused to discuss casualties.

The Taliban have inflicted staggering casualties on Afghanistan’s security forces in relentless attacks over the past year, even as the insurgents are talking peace with the United States. The latest round of talks ended on Thursday in Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office, with ‘some progress,” Taliban officials said.Last year, US President Donald Trump’s administration accelerated efforts to find a political settlement in Afghanistan and reduce the US troop presence there.

About 17,000 foreign troops are based in Afghanistan — most of them American — as part of a US-led Nato mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.

But the Taliban have repeatedly rejected calls for a ceasefire, and they also refuse to talk to the US-backed Afghan government, and have instead stepped up their attacks.

“They are clearly giving a message that they can continue war and peace talks at the same time and are engaged in negotiations from a position of strength,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2019