International News

Taliban militants kill 11 policemen in separate attacks in Afghanistan’s Helmand

The Taliban militants have killed at least 11 Afghan policemen in separate attacks on checkpoints in the volatile province of Helmand in southern Afghanistan, officials say.
In the latest blow to the war-ravaged country’s beleaguered security forces, Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks against two police checkpoints in the Qalai Sang area of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah in the early morning on Sunday.
“Our police fought them back, but unfortunately 11 of our police were martyred and two wounded,” provincial governor Hayatullah Hayat said, adding that the militants fled the scene after the raids.
According to Ghafar Safi, the provincial police chief, at least 15 Taliban militants were also killed during the gun battle.
The Taliban assaults on the police posts are the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Afghan security forces, which are beset by a high death toll, desertions and non-existent “ghost soldiers” on the payroll.
Later in the day, at least one civilian was killed and two others sustained injuries after a magnetic mine, placed on a vehicle, went off close to Noor Square in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of the northern province of Balkh. No group, including the Taliban, has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a separate attack on Sunday, an explosives-laden vehicle went off after it attacked a convoy of NATO forces in the southern province of Kandahar, killing a woman and wounding at least five civilian bystanders.
Taliban militants have intensified their attacks on security forces and foreign troops over the past two years. In October, the militants launched a number of deadly assaults on a number of checkpoints and military bases across the war-ravaged country, leaving over 100 soldiers dead and dozens others injured.
The Taliban, mostly based in the south and east of Afghanistan, have been behind many attacks in the north of the country in the recent past.
Afghanistan is engulfed by violence and many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops. The United States and its NATO allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001, which toppled a Taliban regime.
Over the past 16 years, the Taliban have been engaged in militancy across Afghanistan, killing and displacing government officials, security forces, and civilians.
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group has also more recently gained a foothold in the crisis-hit country.