Fresh Taliban attacks have killed more than 40 government troops in Afghanistan’s western Farah province, which borders Iran.
Officials said Thursday most of the casualties occurred in the embattled Bala Buluk district where insurgents staged a major offensive against a police base late at night.
A top officer at the provincial police headquarters, Sayed Abdullah Andarabi, told VOA the ensuing clashes lasted several hours and he confirmed the killing of 32 security forces, including the district police chief. He added that nine police personnel were wounded while 12 others went missing after the attack.
Provincial council members and local security officials are quoted as saying that Afghan forces lost at least 40 personnel.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed its fighters inflicted heavy losses on government forces, captured several of them, destroyed government vehicles and seized a large amount of weapons and ammunition.
Andarabi said that clashes with Taliban rebels in the nearby Pusht-e-Ko district also killed several security forces and wounded many others while retaliatory attacks inflicted heavy casualties on opposition fighters.
The Taliban killed more than 50 Afghan police and army forces in an other district of Farah earlier this week.
Fighting in Ghazni
Meanwhile, fierce fighting was raging in two districts, Jaghuri and Malistan, of the embattled eastern province of Ghazni, where insurgents have killed dozens of pro-government forces since the beginning of this month.
The United Nations warned Wednesday the fighting has triggered a humanitarian crisis in and around the two districts.
Thousands of families have been displaced and the situation in Jaghuri and Malistan “is chaotic, with families moving repeatedly in search of safety,” according the U.N. humanitarian agency.
On Wednesday, Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami told lawmakers that intense battles were raging in nine provinces of the country, including Ghazni, putting pressure on already stretched out government forces.
On Monday, President Ashraf Ghani said that Afghan security forces have lost more than 28,500 personnel since 2015 in the battle against the Taliban, raising concerns the ongoing year could turn out to be one of the deadliest for pro-government forces.
The fighting comes amid renewed U.S.-led efforts to persuade the Taliban to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government. U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, is currently visiting regional countries to push his peace mission.
The United Nations warned Wednesday days of heavy fighting in parts of central-eastern Afghanistan has triggered a humanitarian crisis, urging warring parties to ensure safe passage for civilians attempting to leave the affected districts.