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Taliban Suffers 'Heavy Casualties' In Badakhshan

  • RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

Police say Afghan security forces have killed at least 18 Taliban militants, including foreign fighters in the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

Speaking in the early evening of April 10, district police chief Gul Muhammad Baydar said "intense fighting is still going" in Badakhshan's Jurm district.

Baydar said fighting began when Taliban militants attacked security outposts in the district's Dara-e Khistak village in the early morning.

"Reinforcements backed by aircraft were quickly sent to support security forces," Baydar said.

Two soldiers were killed and seven injured in fighting, he added.

The Taliban said it has "inflicted casualties" on government forces in Jurm but didn't provide details.

Baydar said one of the dead militants was a Tajik national. There are some 100 foreign militants and their family members living in Jurm, Baydar said, adding that most of them are Chechens, Uzbeks, and Tajiks.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, at least 15 people were killed and dozens injured in three separate blasts on April 10.

The attacks included two suicide car bombs that targeted NATO convoys in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital, Kabul.

Police said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car close to a NATO convoy near the Jalalabad airport.

According to police, the attack killed four civilians and injured 13 others.

The international troops in the convoy suffered minor injuries, a spokesman for the force said.

"The target in Jalalabad was the [NATO-led] Resolute Support mission," said Colonel Chris Belcher, a NATO official. "All the victims of today's Taliban attack were Afghan civilians."

Jalalabad is the capital of the Nangarhar Province, which saw a series of militant attacks last year.

The attack in Kabul, which came hours later, injured three bystanders, police said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.

In the southeastern province of Ghazni, a minivan was hit by a roadside bomb which killed 12 civilians. Local officials said the victims, including women and children, were on the way to a wedding party.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombing but Afghan officials say planting roadside bombs is a usual Taliban tactic.

Also on April 10, local officials in central Uruzgan Province said they recovered the bodies of five local aid workers who were kidnapped more than a month ago.

The five men were "brutally shot in the face" by the Taliban, a provincial government spokesman said.

The spokesman, Doost Muhammad Nayab, said the Taliban had demanded the release of several arrested militants in exchange for freeing the aid workers.

But Uruzgan provincial officials didn't have the authority to release the Taliban prisoners, Nayab said.

Meanwhile, the number of dead from an April 9 Taliban attack on a courthouse in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif has risen to 18, police said.

Afghan security forces are alone in battling the militants following the withdrawal of foreign combat troops last year.

The new NATO-led mission, Resolute Support – launched on January 1 -- is focused on training the Afghan security forces.

The mission involves some 12,000 troops, including 9,800 U.S. soldiers.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters