KUNDUZ: At least 10 pro-government Afghan militiamen were killed in fierce overnight fighting after their checkpoint came under attack from Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan, officials said Friday.
The attack on the local militia, many of which work with overstretched security forces, came as violence surges across the country despite peace talks between the warring Taliban and Afghan government, reports AFP.Insurgents attacked the checkpoint in the restive Kunduz province during the night, provincial governor Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal told reporters.
“Their attack was repelled initially but the militiamen were attacked again by Taliban fighters which led to intense fighting,” Mirzakwal said.
“Unfortunately, 10 uprising forces (pro-government militiamen) were killed.”
Kunduz provincial council member Amruddin Wali confirmed the attack but said at least 15 militiamen were killed.
There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.
The Taliban and government forces have repeatedly clashed in Kunduz, with the insurgents attempting to capture the strategic city located not far from the Tajikistan border.The Taliban briefly captured the city twice before — in September 2015 and again a year later.
The Afghan government has been locked in peace talks with the Taliban that began in September in Qatar, but they have so far failed to achieve any breakthrough.
The new US administration of President Joe Biden has said it will review a US-Taliban deal signed last year, and has accused the Taliban of not reducing violence or cutting ties with Al-Qaeda as agreed.