Forty-hour battle between Afghan troops and Taliban ends in huge bloodshed

Forty-hour battle between Afghan troops and Taliban ends in huge bloodshed
Dozens are feared dead following a battle between Afghan forces and the Taliban.
2 min read
03 March, 2019
The Taliban control many rural areas in southern Afghanistan [Getty]
At least 23 Afghan troops have been killed following an attack by Taliban militants that began Friday and resulted in two-days of fighting, officials said Saturday.

It follows a 40-hour battle between Afghan troops and Taliban militants in Washir district, Helmand province, which started Friday and ended Saturday with 22 Taliban fighters reportedly killed in the fighting.

At least 20 people lost their lives, Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said, while the death toll is likely to rise with as many as 40 troops killed, according to AP.

"The foreign forces present at the base were all safe as the Taliban could not reach that part of the compound," he said. referring to a contingent of American troops who were in the area.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, who claimed that "scores" of government and foreign troops were killed in fighting.

It comes as Taliban officials met for talks with a US peace envoy in Qatar.

Zwak said four Taliban suicide bombers detonated their explosives at Shorab camp, followed by commandos.

The Taliban and the Islamic State group have carried out near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, although civilians have also been heavily targeted.

Camp Shorab was previously a British air base known as Camp Bastion.

Meanwhile the Taliban ambushed a convoy of Afghan security forces in the north of the country, killing nine, said Zabihullah Amani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Twelve more were wounded during the battle with insurgents that lasted seven hours Friday in Sangcharak district. "Four security forces are missing and believe to be taken alive by the insurgents," he said.

The forces were just returning from an operation in the district when they came under heavy fire, Amani said.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.