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Taliban Storm District In Western Afghanistan, Killing Dozens

FILE: An Afghan Nation Army (ANA) soldier keeps watch during an operation in Bala Morghab district of Badghis in March 2017.

Afghan officials say hundreds of Taliban militants stormed a district in the northwestern province of Badghis, killing dozens of government soldiers and police.

Waris Sherzad, the district governor of Bala Murghab, said at least 30 security personnel have been killed since the Taliban launched the attack late on April 3. He said fighting was ongoing.

Abdul Aziz Baig, head of the Badghis Provincial Council, said Taliban fighters captured several security checkpoints outside the government headquarters in Bala Murghab.

The attack took place in Badghis Province near Afghanistan's border with Turkmenistan
The attack took place in Badghis Province near Afghanistan's border with Turkmenistan

He said only the district police headquarters and a base of the Afghan National Army remained in the control of the government.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement late on April 4 that government forces chose to "tactically retreat" from the checkpoints to prevent civilian casualties. The ministry said it called in multiple air strikes on Taliban positions.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said the militant group attacked from four directions, capturing five checkpoints.

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.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa