Suspected Taliban militants killed at least 16 Afghan police officers and two civilians in the western province of Baghdis on Thursday, Reuters reported, quoting government officials. Haji Saleh Bek, the governor of Abkamari district in Baghdis, confirmed the deaths.
A government official called Mohammad Naser Nazari told the news agency that the militants had planted a bomb on the body of a soldier. The bomb exploded when people attempted to retrieve the body. Two civilians were killed in that explosion.
The attack came a day after the militants killed 30 members of the Afghan security forces and captured a military base in the province. Sixteen Taliban militants were killed and more than 15 militants were wounded during the fierce clashes.
The Taliban, who have been fighting to impose an Islamic republic in Afghanistan since their ouster in 2001, resumed their campaign after rejecting President Ashraf Ghani’s request to extend their Eid ceasefire. Both the Taliban and the Afghan government had announced a ceasefire earlier this month to allow their fighters to celebrate the festival.
Meanwhile, Taliban militants abducted 13 engineers and 20 security guards – all Afghan nationals – employed by a road construction company late on Thursday in the Spin Boldak area of the southern province of Kandahar, reported Xinhua quoting the local police.
Four security officers were killed when they tried to rescue the hostages. The Taliban did not immediately comment on the attack.