Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Taliban kills 17 Afghan soldiers after overrunning base

Taliban kills 17 Afghan soldiers after overrunning base

Also Wednesday, life was gradually returning to normal in parts of the eastern city of Ghazni after a massive, days-long Taliban attack, though sporadic gunbattles was still underway in some neighbourhoods. Officials later said all indications were that there was only one bomber.

Meanwhile, a Taliban assault on two adjacent checkpoints in northern Afghanistan late on Tuesday night (Wednesday NZT) killed at least 30 soldiers and policemen, officials said.

A Taliban attack on a military outpost in the northern province of Baghlan has killed as many as 44 Afghan police and soldiers, provincial officials said, as the insurgents kept up pressure on government forces.

The Taliban, who launched their Ghazni assault last Friday and battled Afghan forces backed by US air strikes in the middle of the city for days, said their fighters had been pulled out to prevent further harm to the city's population.

With parliamentary elections due on October 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, but even so, the scale of the violence has come as a shock to a government facing bitter criticism over its handling of the war.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack so far.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan called for the fighting to stop, saying up to 150 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Ghazni, where the public hospital was overwhelmed and water and electricity supplies cut. He said reinforcements have been dispatched to help recapture the checkpoints.

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As an impartial organization, the Red Crescent can assist people on either side of the conflict, she said, adding that about 500 health kits have already been sent to Ghazni's hospitals, along with 200 caskets for those killed in battle.

Also on Wednesday (Thursday NZT), six children were killed when they tinkered with an unexploded rocket shell, causing it to blow up, said Sarhadi Zwak, spokesman for the governor of the eastern Laghman province.

Provincial police chief Mustafa Mayar says the Taliban attacked security posts in the Zabul capital of Qalat early Wednesday, killing the four and wounding three other officers.

In recent months, the Taliban have seized several districts across Afghanistan, staging near-daily attacks on security forces, but they have been unable to capture and hold urban areas.

Afghanistan is littered with unexploded ordnance left by decades of war.

Nasart Rahimi, a deputy spokesman at the Interior Ministry, said security forces were searching every inch of Ghazni on Tuesday for remaining Taliban fighters. It is also plagued by roadside bombs planted by insurgents, which are usually intended for security forces but often kill and wound civilians.

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