At least 30 soldiers killed as Taliban targets army checkpoints in Afghanistan in first attack post Eid ceasefire

At least 30 soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters targeted two checkpoints in western Badghis province in Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to officials. Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the provincial council in Badghis, said Taliban fighters first attacked the checkpoints and then ambushed arriving reinforcements in Bala Murghab district.

He said the attack started Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday morning.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban are active in Badghis and have repeatedly claimed attacks against Afghan security forces there. The Taliban had observed a ceasefire over the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday last weekend but rejected the government's request for an extension.

“Large numbers of Taliban came from several directions,” Beg said. “After hours of heavy fighting 30 Afghan security forces were killed and the Taliban captured the base.”

Fifteen Taliban were killed in other areas of the province overnight, he said, adding that the militants prepared their attacks and did reconnaissance of the area during their ceasefire.

Naqibullah Amini, spokesman for the Badghis police, confirmed the death of 30 soldiers and said the Taliban killed four soldiers in separate attacks on security checkpoints in the same district.

The Taliban are fighting to oust US-led NATO forces combined and defeat Ashraf Ghani’s US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001. This was the Taliban's first ceasefire since then.

Earlier in February, Ghani offered the militants peace talks "without preconditions" and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group if they respected the rule of law.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 15:28:02 IST

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