Cyprus Mail

At least 27 Afghan security personnel killed in Taliban assaults

FILE PHOTO: Members of Afghanistan's Taliban delegation (R) gather ahead of an agreement signing between them and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem al Omari/File Photo

Taliban insurgents have killed 27 members of the Afghan security forces, police and government officials said on Monday, as a peace effort brokered by the United States struggles to get off the ground.

The Taliban and the United States struck a deal last month allowing the United States and its allies to withdraw their forces in exchange for Taliban promises on preventing terrorism.

A Taliban commitment to talk peace with the U.S.-backed government was part of the pact but efforts to get talks going have been hampered by differences between the government and the Taliban on a prisoner exchange and on negotiating teams.

The Taliban have not agreed to a ceasefire with government forces and fighting has not ended, although the insurgents have not announced any spring offensive, which they normally do at this time of the year.

In the latest clashes, insurgents stormed the compound of a top police officer in the northeastern province of Takhar on Sunday, killing 13 policeman and wounding the senior officer, a spokesman for the force said.

In the southern province of Zabul, Taliban forces attacked government security outposts, killing at least 11 soldiers, also on Sunday, police said. The ministry of defence said on Twitter six soldiers were killed in those clashes.

Government security posts were also attacked in the southern province of Helmand and northern province of Baghlan, officials said. Four members of the security forces were killed in both attacks.

Thirteen Taliban fighters were killed in Baghlan, according to police spokesman. The Taliban also suffered casualties in the other three attacks, officials said, but they did not provide details.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Kabul and Doha, where the Taliban have an office, last week to urge all sides involved to move the process forward.

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