A Taliban attack in southern Afghanistan killed at least eight election commission employees, officials said on Sunday. The terror group used vehicles filled with explosives to launch an attack in the Maruf district centre in southern Kandahar province on Saturday night, AFP reported.
“Unfortunately, eight employees of the commission who were stationed in the government offices inside the district to register voters were killed,” the news agency quoted Independent Election Commission spokesperson Zabiullah Sadaat as saying. The Taliban, which rejects the electoral process, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A few security forces were also killed in the terror attack and communications in the area have been discontinued, Kandahar police spokesperson Qasim Afghan said.
A Reuters report cited unidentified sources as saying that at least 19 people had been killed in the Taliban attack on a government office on Saturday night. Election workers were in the middle of registering votes ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled to be held on September 28.
Kandahar police chief said that eight election workers and eleven security personnel were killed in the attack along with four suicide bombers. Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said that the group’s militants had killed 57 Afghan security personnel in the attack and taken 11 others captive.
However, Afghan officials refuted these claims. The interior ministry claimed that 25 Taliban insurgents had been killed.
In another attack, local authorities said that the terror group had killed eight Afghan soldiers and wounded eight others at a military checkpoint in Balabulak district in the western province of Farah. Government officials have said that over 600 villagers have fled after the Taliban seized several portions of the northern province of Takhar.
Tension between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces have escalated while the Taliban and the United States officials hold peace talks in Qatar to end the 18-year-long war in the country. Qatar government, which is mediating the discussions between the two sides, on Sunday said that the withdrawal of foreign troops and a comprehensive ceasefire were discussed, Reuters reported.