The assaults took place on a series of check posts and sites held by soldiers, police and local militias backing the government

Security forces stand guard in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, October 31, 2018.
Security forces stand guard in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, October 31, 2018. (AP Archive)

At least 47 members of the Afghan security forces and 22 Taliban militants have been killed in fresh clashes in the country’s north, officials and local media confirmed Tuesday.

The renewed fighting coincides with a two-day round of peace talks now underway in Moscow between Taliban representatives and several Afghan officials (not affiliated with the Kabul government), including former president Hamid Karzai.

Safiullah Amiri, deputy chairman of the provincial assembly of Kunduz province on the border with Tajikistan, said the insurgents overrun a number of checkpoints manned by army, police and pro-government militiamen late Monday.

Amiri confirmed that 36 security personnel had been killed – and at least 20 more injured – in the attacks. 

Kunduz

An Afghan official said a pre-dawn Taliban attack on an army base in northern Kunduz province killed at least 26 members of the country's security forces.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council, says there are at least 23 soldiers and three members of the local police force among those slain in the attack early on Tuesday.

Ayubi says 12 troops were also wounded. The Taliban onslaught at the base on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunduz city, lasted for over two hours.

He says the attackers were repelled after reinforcements arrived at the besieged base.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Kunduz attack. He says insurgents overran three police checkpoints as the attack unfolded.

Baghlan

At least 11 policemen were slain when suspected Taliban insurgents stormed a checkpoint in northern Baghlan province.

Safder Mohsini, head of the provincial council, says the checkpoint attack late on Monday night in Baghlan's district of Baghlani Markazi also wounded five local policemen.

He says the Taliban made away with all the weapons and ammunition from the security post.

Samangan

In northern Samangan province, an attack targeting a local pro-government militia killed 10 people there, including a woman.

Sediq Azizi, the spokesman for the provincial governor, says four people were also wounded in that attack on Monday morning in Samangan's Dara-e-Suf district.

US war in Afghanistan

The Taliban have been staging near-daily attacks, inflicting heavy casualties on the embattled Afghan army and security forces.

The latest attacks take place as a two-day meeting in the Russian capital, starts aimed at resolving Afghanistan's 17-year war.

The talks are seen as another step in a process that has accelerated since the appointment last September of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Washington has spent more than $1 trillion on Afghanistan.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire to bring US troops home, adding to the urgency of Khalilzad's mission.

Reports late last year suggested Trump was considering withdrawing at least half of Washington's estimated 15,000 troops from Afghanistan by the summer.

Source: AP