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Taliban Kills 18 Afghan Soldiers, Some Beheaded

An Afghan official investigates inside a court a day after a separate Taliban attack in Mazar-i-Sharif on April 10.

Afghan authorities say Taliban militants killed at least 18 soldiers and beheaded some of them in attacks in the country's northeast in recent days.

The Defense Ministry said in an April 13 statement that at least 33 soldiers "have been martyred, wounded, [or] went missing" during fighting in Badakhshan Province.

Most of the fighting occurred on April 10, when Taliban militants launched attacks on several army posts in the Jurm district.

The ministry said it had not offered details earlier because it was investigating.

Ahmad Nawid Froutan, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said that at least 18 soldiers were killed and that the bodies of eight of them had been beheaded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Defense Ministry said unspecified "neglect" by an army officer had enabled it to take place.

It said the militants looted military equipment and set fire to vehicles they could not take.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa