Taliban launch major assault on northeast Afghan district

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2015 8:19 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Hundreds of Taliban insurgents launched a major assault at dawn Saturday on a remote district in Afghanistan's northeastern Badakhshan province, as reinforcements were flown in to help beleaguered police officers there, officials said.

Some 300 Taliban fighters targeted the Yamgan district, a mountainous region with no road leading to it, said Sakhi Dad Haidari, a deputy provincial police chief in Badakhshan. Haidari warned the district could fall to the militants as reinforcements arrived Saturday afternoon.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the provincial police chief in Badakhshan, said the insurgents are near the district's headquarters and an intense battle still raged. There were no casualty figures immediately available.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying militants overran the district headquarters. Ahmadzai denied the claim.

The Taliban's annual warm weather offensive started in April, the first since U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat mission in the country at the end of last year.

Meanwhile Saturday, a roadside bomb killed six civilians in southern Uruzgan province, said Dost Mohammad Nayab, spokesman for the provincial governor. A day earlier, another roadside bomb killed six members of a family in the Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province, said Samim Khpalwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Also on Friday, another roadside bomb killed five civilians and wounded five in Ghazni province near its capital, said Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, a deputy provincial governor. Another bomb targeting a passing army vehicle killed a woman and a child late Friday night near Kabul, police said.

The Taliban often plant roadside bombs to target police officers and soldiers, though they often kill civilians instead.

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Associated Press writer Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.