Afghanistan says fight with Taliban kills 15 security officials

Afghan official says 15 security force members killed in fighting with Taliban in southern Uruzgan province

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Afghan security forces take their positions at the hilltop of Dand Ghori district of Baghlan province, Afghanistan on March 15, 2016.

At least 15 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in a gunbattle with the Taliban in the volatile southern Uruzgan province, an official said on Wednesday.

The fighting took place late Tuesday night during an operation to reopen an important highway in the province, said Mohammad Nabi Niazo, the Dihrawud district police chief.

Taliban gunmen had blocked the highway between Dihrawud and the provincial capital, Tarin Kot, for almost four days, he said.

Following the deadly firefight, Afghan forces have retaken control of the road, Niazo added. Eight members of the security forces were wounded during the operation.

Member of Taliban militant group holds their weapons during a ceremony as they join Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration program in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on March 27, 2016. (Reuters)

However, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said that the battle for control of the highway is still going on.

Niazo had no information of any casualties for the Taliban during the battle.

The Taliban have in recent months stepped up their attacks in Uruzgan and neighbouring provinces in the south, including the Taliban heartland of Helmand where much of the world's illicit opium is produced. The crop, along with other contraband, funds the Taliban militancy, now in its fifteenth year.

TRTWorld, AP