Taliban attack government offices in Afghanistan


Kabul : A group of Taliban militants attacked a district office in relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan Monday, killing one policeman and taking nine others hostage, officials said.

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In the rare attack, dozens of insurgents with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the Borka district headquarters in Baghlan province early Monday and killed an officer, provincial police spokesman Jawed Basharat said.

The militants fled the area after torching the administration and police buildings, and destroying a police vehicle, he said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said their fighters killed three Afghan security personnel and captured 10 others.

“The fate of the captured policemen will be decided by our leadership,” the Taliban spokesman said.

Speaking over telephone from an undisclosed location, Mujahid said the insurgents retreated to their bases in the province after completely overrunning the district government and holding it for three hours.

The interior ministry confirmed that nine policemen, including four officers, were missing, while Basharat, speaking from Borka, told DPA that police launched an operation in the area to track down the attackers.

It was the first time since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001 that the militants, who are most active in the southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan, had launched such a large-scale attack in the northern region.

More than 70,000 international forces are stationed in the country. More than 25,000 additional forces, most of them US soldiers, are expected to arrive in Afghanistan in the coming months.

Taliban militants have vowed to increase their attacks in northern Afghanistan as most of the new extra forces will be deployed to the south and east, which border Pakistan. Taliban militants are said to have bases inside tribal areas of Pakistan.