Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack

Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack

Officials said 15 members of the Afghan security forces were unaccounted for on Monday after Taliban seized control of a district centre in Afghanistan's western Farah province.

"Within last 24 hours, 171 militants including six members of the Islamic State [IS terror group] were killed during military operations in 10 provinces", the ministry said in a daily bulletin. Some 40 militants were also killed, officials said.

The fall of the district, Anardarah, came days after Afghan security forces suffered heavy casualties in another district of Farah, which borders Iran and is situated on one of the country's most lucrative drug routes.

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The attack triggered a deadly skirmish between fighters from the militant movement and security forces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it began, according to a media statement from Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman.

In a separate report, seven civilians - including three children and two women - were killed on Sunday night in eastern Nangarhar province when their vehicle was hit by a grenade, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

At least 22 members of the security forces died in the attack.

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"If they are not fought back, the district will be taken over entirely".

"There were about 300 fighters that attacked the headquarters early this morning, but security forces are now fighting them back and we are hoping that the area will be cleared off soon", Farid Bakhtawar, head of the provincial council, told Al Jazeera.

The U.S. military's latest estimates from December show the Afghan government controls or has influence over 56 percent of districts, with insurgents controlling or contesting the rest.

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