Kabul: At least 18 Afghan army soldiers were killed and 10 others kidnapped in attacks carried out by the Taliban militant group against several military checkpoints in the western province of Farah, officials told Efe on Sunday.
The attacks come amid increased violence ahead of the Afghan legislative elections scheduled for October 20, in which four attacks have been carried out against campaign events, killing dozens, while the Taliban continues to control several districts in the country.
The head of the Farah provincial council, Farid Bakhtawar, provided efe with the number of soldiers killed and captured in the attacks, which began Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning in the district of Poshtrod.
Bakhtawar asserted that Afghan government forces maintained control of the positions. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed via Twitter that two Afghan army positions in Poshtrod were overrun in an attack Saturday night, and said that 25 Afghan army soldiers were killed and 12 were taken prisoner while no Taliban fighters were killed.
The Taliban spokesperson also posted photos allegedly showing seized weapons and captured Afghan soldiers in camouflage uniforms seated in a room with their hands behind their backs.
The confrontation between the Afghan army and the Taliban was confirmed by defense ministry spokesperson Sayed Ghafoor Javed in a press conference, although he did not provide details on the number of casualties.
Javed added that the Taliban were forced to retreat and that Afghan authorities had begun an investigation into the incident. Farah police spokesperson Mohibullah Mohib told EFE that no official report on the total number of victims had been released.
This attack comes a day after the Taliban’s political chief confirmed for the first time that the group had met in Qatar with the United States’ special envoy to negotiate an end to the 17-year-long conflict.
The Taliban had issued warnings demanding a boycott of next week’s parliamentary elections, calling them a “false” process that aimed to legitimize the presence of foreign troops in the country. According to media reports, attacks by the Taliban on Afghan army forces occur nearly every day.