Taliban kills eight election commission employees in south Afghanistan

Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified even as leaders of the Taliban and U.S. officials hold peace talks in Qatar to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

By REUTERS
June 30, 2019 13:02
1 minute read.
A member of the Taliban holds a flag in Kabul, Afghanistan

A member of the Taliban holds a flag in Kabul, Afghanistan June 16, 2018. The writing on the flag reads: 'There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah'. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMAD ISMAIL)

KABUL, June 30 - Taliban fighters killed eight election commission employees on Saturday night inside a district center in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

The employees of the Independent Election Commission were stationed at the government office in Maruf district to register voters when fighters of the hard line Islamist group launched an attack.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman said the fighters killed election commission employees and 57 members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). They also captured 11 others with five vehicles and a large cache of weapons during the attack at the district center.

But Afghan government officials said the Taliban had exaggerated the casualty figures.

Qaseem Azad, a secretary of the Kandahar police said ANDSF suffered some casualties, but provided no further details.

Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified even as leaders of the Taliban and U.S. officials hold peace talks in Qatar to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

Separately on Saturday, Taliban fighters killed eight Afghan soldiers and injured eight others at a military checkpoint in Balabulak district in the western province of Farah, a local official said.

Mahmood Naemi, the deputy chief of the council in Farah, said on Sunday ground clashes between the warring sides ended after Afghan forces launched air strikes.

"Many Taliban fighters were killed in the air strike," said Naemi. (Reporting by Sarwar Amani in Kandahar, Storay Karimi, Jalil Rezai in Herat, Abdul Qadir Sediqi in Kabul, Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Sam Holmes)


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