HEART: At least 10 Afghan security guards were killed Thursday when Taliban militants ambushed a logistics convoy destined for US-led Nato forces in western Afghanistan, a local official said.
The guards were securing the convoy when they came under attack in Bakwa district of Farah province, on the main highway connecting the west to the volatile south, said Naqibullah Farahi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
“Ten security guards have been killed and seven others injured in the Taliban ambush,” Farahi said, adding that the militants also torched nine trucks carrying the supplies for foreign troops.
A spokesman for Afghan police in the west of the country, Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, said police were immediately deployed to the area to hunt down the attackers.
Taliban frequently attack convoys supplying Nato troops in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, as part of their 10-year insurgency against the western-backed Kabul government since US troops toppled their regime in 2001.
There are around 140,000 US-led Nato forces in war-torn Afghanistan with foreign combat troops scheduled to withdraw by the end of 2014.
Between now and then, a gradual handover is due to take place of provinces and districts currently under the control of foreign troops to their Afghan counterparts.
The militants, leaders of the bloody insurgency, were not immediately contactable for comment about the incident by telephone.
But a statement on their website claimed that 24 security personnel were killed and six fuel tankers set on fire in the incident, while a number of weapons were also seized.
The Taliban are known routinely to exaggerate and distort their claims in relation to attacks.
Earlier this week, Afghan elders at a loya jirga in Kabul called for a “revision” of efforts to talk peace with the Taliban after September's assassination of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani.
But it said that the door should be kept open to those who wish to turn their backs on violence, whose addresses are known and who have Afghan citizenship.
Western Afghanistan, close to the border with Iran, has traditionally been seen as more stable and more liberal than other parts of the country, such as the volatile southeast and east.
However, it is still plagued by outbursts of violence in pockets where the Taliban are still influential.