Taliban Kill 15 Police Officers In Northern Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) – Taliban militants stormed a security checkpoint in the northern province of Kunduz on Monday night and killed at least 15 police, according to an Afghan official.

Two other police officers were injured in the attack in the Ali Abad district, said Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a member of the provincial council.

The attack from several fronts triggered a multi-hour shooting, Rabani said.

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Afghan troops have been fighting with the Taliban in the Dashti Archi and Imam Sahib districts in Kunduz for weeks, Rabani said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on security control.

The Taliban have a strong presence in Kunduz and control several districts in the province.

The Taliban briefly took in 2015 the provincial capital, also called Kunduz, and has attacked the city several times since then. On the last occasion, in August, the insurgents tried to capture the city again but were rejected.

The Taliban now control almost half of Afghanistan and have maintained their almost daily attacks against Afghan security forces, which cause many casualties. Dozens of civilians have also died in the attacks.

Since his presidential campaign in 2016, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has spoken about the need to withdraw US troops from the “infinite war” of Afghanistan. He has complained that the United States has done police in Afghanistan and claimed that this is not the job of the US Army.

In the country there are about 14,000 US military in a coalition that leads Washington. US troops do instructional and advisory work to local forces and conduct anti-terrorist operations against extremists.

Trump has ordered a troop withdrawal in parallel to peace talks that would have reduced the US troops in Afghanistan to some 8,600.

The US envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, said last month that he had a preliminary peace agreement with the Taliban, but a surge in Taliban violence and the death of a US soldier led Trump to cancel a secret meeting at Camp David in which the agreement would have been signed, and the preliminary agreement was terminated.

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