Officials say lives of some 600 troops under threat in ongoing fighting as Taliban fighters storm all security posts around a government compound in western Badghis province.

FILE PHOTO: Afghan National Army officers take part in a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre in Kabul, Afghanistan October 17, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: Afghan National Army officers take part in a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Centre in Kabul, Afghanistan October 17, 2017. (Reuters Archive)

Afghan Taliban attacked a government compound in western Badghis province, killing at least 20 troops and policemen, Afghan provincial officials said on Thursday. 

Mohammad Nasir Nazari, a provincial council member, said the "massive attack" took place before dawn on Thursday, and that it targeted the government headquarters in the district of Balal Murgab.

He said the Taliban stormed all the security posts around the compound under the cover of darkness. 

He said that the lives of some 600 members of the security forces deployed there are under threat.

Intense fighting

Jamshid Shahabhi, spokesman for the Badgis' governor, said intense fighting in the district is still underway. 

He said he fears more casualties by the government.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to the media.

Peace talks and fighting

Despite peace talks in Doha with the US officials, Afghan Taliban stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, inflicting staggering casualties, and now hold sway over half of the country.

The insurgents refuse to talk directly with the government in Kabul, considering it a US puppet.

Increased fighting also heightens concerns about civilian casualties, after a record 3,804 civilians were killed last year, said Anthony Neal, advocacy manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Afghanistan.

More conflict has also forced nearly 4,000 people from their homes in the last three months alone, he said.

Source: AP