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At Least 20 Afghan Police Dead In Taliban Ambush

FAIZABAD, Afghanistan -- Taliban fighters have ambushed a police convoy in Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan Province, killing 20 officers and wounding 12 others.

Deputy Provincial Governor Mohammad Baydar confirmed those figures to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, adding that "heavy casualties" had been inflicted on Taliban fighters, without giving figures.

The Taliban claimed to have killed 25 government soldiers and captured 12 others, including an officer.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry denied any soldiers had been captured.

Afghan media reports this week said an operation was under way in Badakhshan Province to clear Taliban militants and their "multinational terrorist associates" from Wardoj.

That report claimed the operation was nearly completed and that "peace" had been restored in the area.

Government Offensive Retakes Helmand Territory

Meanwhile, also in Afghanistan, the governor's office the southern Helmand Province says government forces have retaken areas occupied by Taliban fighters.

A statement issued on September 19 said that, after a "three-day operation, all those areas under control of insurgents were completely cleared."

One report said some 40 militants had been killed.

The statement said government troops were setting up new checkpoints in the areas to prevent Taliban fighters from occupying those areas again.

Helmand has been one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan since international forces arrived some 12 years ago.

Afghan troops and foreign forces, notably British troops, have launched several large-scale operations to chase Taliban fighters from areas in the province.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and Afghan TV