Taliban kills Afghan soldiers in attacks on army posts

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At least 17 soldiers have been killed in Taliban raids on two military posts in western Afghanistan, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks that began late on Saturday in the Pusht Rod district of Farah province and continued into Sunday. The strikes come a week before voters cast their ballots in parliamentary elections across the war-torn country.

The raids involved “a large number of Taliban”, according to Farah provincial council chief Farid Bakhtawar.

At least 11 soldiers were captured and another four wounded in the overnight attacks, local officials said.

Defence ministry spokesman Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed said reinforcements had been sent to the area.

“The Taliban have also suffered huge losses,” Jawed added.

The fighters seized weapons and armoured vehicles during the assault, provincial council member Dadullah Qaneh said.

In the southern province of Zabul, the police chief of Mizan district was killed in clashes with Taliban fighters on Saturday night, the provincial governor, Rahmatullah Yarmal, said.

Violence has escalated in the months leading up to the October 20 parliamentary election, with hundreds killed or wounded.

On Saturday, a motorcycle carrying explosives detonated among supporters of Nazifa Yousefibek, a female candidate for the northeastern province of Takhar, killing 22 and wounding 36 – mostly civilians.

And in the western province of Herat, two gunmen attacked the campaign office of a candidate in Injeel district, killing two people, provincial governor spokesman Jailani Farhad said.

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