HERAT, Afghanistan (AP) — Eleven Afghan soldiers were killed in an ambush by Taliban insurgents in a western province that borders Iran, an official said Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. and Afghan forces destroyed a munitions cache in a volatile region close to the capital Kabul.
An Afghan army convoy in Herat province was traveling to neighboring Bagdhis province on Sunday when it came under attack by a large group of insurgents, said Hesanullah Hayat, spokesman for the Herat governor.
The western region has seen increased insurgent activity since the Taliban launched their warm-weather offensive in late April.
Attacks across the country since then have forced Afghan security forces to spread ever thinner, leading to an increase in the number of casualties suffered by army and police, who also fight on the front lines.
In Parwan province north of Kabul on Monday, U.S. forces destroyed munitions "that we believe could have been used to conduct attacks against Afghans and coalition forces," said U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for NATO's mission in Afghanistan said. Parwan police chief Gen. Mohammad Zaman said Afghan troops were part of the operation as well.
The operation took place in Charikar, the provincial capital, where insurgents have long been active.
Local residents held a demonstration in Charikar to protest the operation, which included ground and air forces, Zaman said. "They were complaining that if there was a weapons cache that needed destroying it should have been destroyed far away from the residential areas," he said.
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah were expected to send a delegation to Charikar to investigate, said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.