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At Least 100 Afghan Police Defect to Taliban

FILE - Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of clashes with protesters in Kabul, Jan. 31, 2015.

At least 100 Afghan police and border officers have defected to the Taliban in the largest mass surrender since the United States and NATO forces ended their combat mission at the end of last year.

The Afghan security forces surrendered late Saturday after clashing with Taliban fighters for three days at the Tirgaran base in Badakhshan province, in the remote northeastern part of the country. The local police commander was among those who defected, turning over the base's weapons and ammunition.

The head of the provincial council, Abdullah Naji Nazari, said, "No reinforcements were sent to help the police at the base for the past three days when they were under the attack and finally they had no option: They had to join the Taliban."

About 20 Taliban fighters and 10 government security personnel were killed in the fighting.

The defections underlined the challenges facing the Afghan security forces, whose casualties have risen in the face of increased insurgent attacks.