KABUL - At least 11 Afghan police officers were killed in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan when the Taliban attacked police checkpoints Monday night, according to the governor’s spokesman, Monir Ahmad Farhad.
However, he rejected the Taliban's claim it had captured the district. Balkh police spokesman Adil Shah Adil said only two security checkpoints had collapsed in the attacks.
Meanwhile, intense fighting continues in another province in the north, Jawzjan, where 30 police and armed locals, “including the district governor and the district police chief, have been held under siege by the Taliban for the past two days in the Darzab district,” according to local Tolo News outlet.
“Lotfullah Azizi, Jawzjan provincial governor, said that the district capital is under the Taliban’s control and that the Afghan forces are pinned down close to the district bazaar,” Tolo reported on its website.
The attack follows Taliban threats that contributed to a historic low turnout in the country’s fourth presidential election Saturday.
The country’s security forces were able to keep the situation under relative control but voters chose to stay home nonetheless. The process of collecting ballots and counting them in Afghanistan is long and complicated. Preliminary voting results are not expected for a couple of weeks. Final results are expected to be announced November 9.
However, fulfilling the worst fears of analysts and western officials, two leading candidates, incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his chief rival, Abdullah and Abdullah, have already declared themselves winners.
“Anyone who declares himself a winner is preparing grounds for a crisis in Afghanistan,” Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and himself one of 18 candidates registered to run for president, said at a Tuesday news conference.
He also indicated his dissatisfaction with the transparency of the process.
Abdullah and another important candidate, former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have already accused Ghani of fraud.