Taliban Kill At Least 20 Afghan Troops In Badghis Province

Afghan officials say a Taliban attack in the northwestern province of Badghis has killed at least 20 government soldiers and police.

Abdul Aziz Baig, head of the Badghis Provincial Council, said Taliban fighters stormed several security checkpoints outside the government headquarters in the district of Bala Murghab during the early morning hours of April 4.

Baig said Taliban fighters seized most of the district. He said only the district police headquarters and a base of the Afghan National Army remained in the control of the government.

Jamshid Shahabhi, the spokesman for the Badghis governor, said after midday on April 4 that intense fighting was continuing in the district. He said there were fears that the death toll for government forces could rise.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mohammad Nasir Nazari, a provincial council member, said the Afghan Army base and police headquarters in the district also could fall to the militants if the government did not send reinforcements.

The attack comes less than three weeks after 50 government soldiers were killed during a week-long battle in Bala Murghab.

Nazari said 100 Afghan soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighboring Turkmenistan during the battle in mid March.

Many were captured by Taliban fighters after Turkmen government forces prevented them from crossing the border safely into Turkmenistan's territory.

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