30 Afghan police personnel killed in Taliban attacks

Kabul, July 3 (IANS) At least 30 Afghan police personnel have been killed in heavy clashes that broke out between Taliban militants and security forces in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province, media reported on Friday.

“The clashes erupted in the early hours of Thursday. The Taliban militants have taken over control of 12 security checkpoints along the main road connecting the headquarters of Jalris district to provincial capital Maidan Shar,” TOLONews quoted the provincial council chief as saying.

“The main road to Jalris district centre has been closed since early Thursday. Reinforcement of army soldiers have been deployed by helicopters to the district centre earlier on Friday to avoid militants’ advancement there,” the source added in the report.

The Jalris provincial council painted a bleak picture on the Wardak province situation when they announced that the Jalris district has virtually fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

Addressing a press conference Friday morning, provincial council members said that armed insurgents have taken control of almost the entire district, with the exception of the district governor’s building and some other government offices, the TOLONews report said.

They said so far 30 police officers have been killed by the armed insurgents and heavy clashes are going on between security forces and the militants.

One council member blamed the central government for the situation, claiming that between 30 and 40 percent of security personnel deployed to the area were not on duty.

According to the council members, at least 50 percent of checkpoints in Chak district in Wardak province have also fallen into the Taliban’s hands.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since April 24 when the militant group launched its so-called annual spring offensive across Afghanistan, which had claimed hundreds of lives, including civilians, security personnel and militants.

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