23 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attacks

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Kabul, Jun 6 (EFE).- At least 23 members of the Afghan security forces were killed and several others were injured in at least three Taliban attacks in northwestern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.

A truck bomb attack on an army checkpoint in Ghor province killed nine soldiers late Saturday, local governor Abdul Wadoud Faizada said in a statement.

At least six members of the security forces were still unaccounted for after the attack.

A second truck bomb against a police headquarters in the Qaisar district of northern Faryab province on Saturday evening killed at least 14 members of the security forces and the police chief.

“Sixteen members of the security forces including some injured ones were taken alive as hostages by the enemy,” a member of Faryab provincial council told Efe on the condition of anonymity.

He added: “A fierce fighting between the security forces and the Taliban is underway in the district governor’s office and a nearby army base in the district.”

The third attack took place on Sunday and was also a truck bomb against a police headquarters, this time in northern Balkh province. It was followed by an armed attack.

The Taliban claimed all three attacks.

In the past 24 hours, fierce fighting was underway in 17 of the 34 Afghan provinces, according to the Ministry of Defense. During this fighting, 167 Taliban fighters have been killed and another 59 injured, the ministry added in its daily update.

Violence has increased in the past month, particularly after the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of the 2,500 US troops and around 7,000 NATO troops stationed in the country on May 1, a process that is expected to be completed by early September.