Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban attack police headquarters, kill 11

Taliban militants have attacked a police headquarters in Afghanistan’s northern province of Balkh, killing at least 11 policemen, officials say.

Over 400 Taliban militants on motorbikes stormed the Shortepa district police headquarters in Balkh early on Tuesday, triggering a lengthy firefight, said Munir Farhad, a spokesman for the governor of the province.

“Eleven policemen were killed in the attack. The Taliban also suffered heavy losses,” he told AFP, without offering a specific casualty toll for the militants.

The assailants also kidnapped 13 other policemen and set fire to the headquarters’ buildings before leaving the area, according to officials.

The assault came days after millions of Afghans voted in a presidential election despite Taliban threats to target polling stations.

The election, the fourth since a Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, took place after peace talks between the militant group and the United States collapsed earlier this month.

Since October 2018, the Taliban’s Qatar-based political bureau had been engaged in a diplomatic process with Washington, but US President Donald Trump declared the talks “dead” on September 9, after the militant group carried out a bomb attack in the capital, Kabul, where 12 people, including an American soldier, were killed.

The Taliban refuse to talk to the Afghan government.

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