KUNDUZ: Taliban killed at least 14 Afghan National Army (ANA) and wounded four others after an attack in restive Dasht-e-Archi district of northeastern Kunduz province, officials said Thursday.
Nasruddin Nazari, administrator of Dasht-e-Archi district, confirmed to Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) in an update that 14 ANA troops were killed and four more wounded after Taliban fighters attacked the ANA base in Kaltrash area of Dasht-e-Archi district.
He had earlier said that an unknown number of ANA troops were killed and wounded in the attack.
Earlier, security sources had told AIP that the attacked carried out from different directions left 10 ANA troops dead and eight more wounded.
The source said the fighting lasted for two hours and ended with the retreat of Taliban, adding there also casualties to Taliban but its count was unclear.
Afghan defense ministry confirmed eight ANA casualties from the attack, saying several Taliban were also killed and wounded during the clash.
Taliban claimed the attack on ANA base was part of their spring offensive “Al-Khandaq”.
Meanwhile, the Taliban fighters also attacked several security posts in Khalazai area of Pul-e-Khumri, capital of neighbouring Baghlan province, causing no damage to government forces, said Zabihullah Shuja, spokesman of Baghlan police.
He said five Taliban were killed and seven more wounded in retaliatory action by Afghan forces. The Taliban attacked the centre of Yangi Kala, Takhar province, said Abdul Khalil Aseer, spokesman of Takhar police.
He said the security forces repulsed the attack, killing three Taliban and wounding two others, adding two cops also wounded in the clash.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that 19 ANA troops were killed and six more wounded in the Dasht-e-Archi attack.
He said the Taliban attacked mounted attacks on Yang Kala district centre and surrounding security posts, capturing 19 posts and causing casualties to a large number of troops.
Mujahid conceded that three Taliban sustained injuries in the clash.
He also claimed killing and wounding numerous government troops including Commander Mohibullah in Pul-e-Khumri clash but denied casualties to their fighters in Dasth-e-Archi and Pul-e-Khumri.
Taliban announced the launch of traditional spring offensive codenamed “Al-Khandaq” across Afghanistan April 25, saying the operation would focus on targeting NATO-led forces and their Afghan partners. Afghan defense ministry, however, termed the announcement as propaganda, saying the Afghan security forces would never allow the Taliban to make any advancement.