20 killed in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan
Kabul - At least 20 people including a district governor and security forces have been killed in two separate attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Ghazni province, officials confirmed Thursday.
A large number of armed Taliban attacked Khwaja Omari district centre in the province early Thursday morning, a member of the provincial council, Ghulam Sakhi Amar, told dpa.
"Unfortunately, 14 people including the district governor were killed and five others were injured," Amar added.
Security forces and civilian staff members are among the victims, according to Amar.
Taliban torched the district governor's office building after removing weapons and other equipment they could carry, Amar said.
Elsewhere Taliban ambushed a convoy of Afghan security backup forces on the way to Khwaja Omari district in Kushk area of the capital of Ghazni, leaving six policemen dead and three others injured, according to Amar.
Confirming the incidents, another member of the provincial council, Khaliqdad Akbari, said the number of casualties was probably much higher.
"Though the district centre is back in the control of Afghan forces, the Taliban did what they really wanted," Akbari said.
Claiming responsibility for the attacks and the capture of the district centre, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement said that more than 20 police had been killed in the attacks.
Three Taliban fighters were killed and four others injured, Mujahid said.
In the past year, the Taliban have been stepping up their attacks on district centres. In most cases, the territorial gains are short-lived.
They are however keeping the exhausted Afghan forces engaged, causing many casualties.
According to military sources, the Taliban are controlling or influencing at least 14,3 per cent of the country. 30 per cent are embattled.
Other sources see higher figures.