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Taliban ambush kills dozens of Afghan forces

TAKHAR (Al Jazeera): Dozens of the members of Afghanistan’s security forces have been killed and many others wounded in an attack by the Taliban in the northern province of Takhar, officials said.

Takhar provincial health director Abdul Qayoum told AFP news agency on Wednesday that 34 security personnel were killed in the ambush, including the province’s deputy police chief.

At least eight others were wounded in the incident, which took place overnight in Baharak district, a province that is contested between the Taliban and government forces.

Local politicians placed the death toll at up to 42, DPA news agency reported.

Baharak is one of the districts of Takhar province, where 11 of the 16 districts have been largely controlled by Taliban fighters for years.

“Fighting is still continuing and the Taliban have also suffered heavy casualties,” Jawad Hejri, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province told AFP.

Hejri said the security forces had been on their way to an operation in Baharak when they were attacked by the Taliban.

“The Taliban had taken positions in the houses around the area. They ambushed our forces who were there for an operation against the enemy,” he said.

The Taliban have not commented on the attack yet.

Following the Taliban’s campaign in Helmand, the Takhar attack is believed to be the second major offensive by the group in less than a month.

Earlier this month, thousands of families were displaced by bloody conflict in the southern Helmand province.

The increased violence in Afghanistan comes despite ongoing peace talks between the representatives of the government and the Taliban in Qatar that kicked off last month.

The armed group has so far refused to accept a ceasefire.

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