157 Afghan troops killed or injured in last 24 hours

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Kabul

Over 150 Afghan troops have been killed or injured in the last 24 hours in a surge of attacks by Taliban militants as foreign forces withdraw, senior government officials said on Monday.

Fighting is now raging in 26 of the country’s 34 provinces, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Casualties were “shockingly high”, one added.

“In the past 24 hours, there were unfortunately 157 casualties among forces,” one senior official said on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to media.

The government says clashes over territory have increased as the United States pushes on with an operation to withdraw all its remaining troops by September 11.

The Taliban seized Shahrak district of western Ghor province on Monday and forced Afghan troops to retreat to nearby villages after a heavy firefight, local officials said.

A powerful car bomb targeting a police headquarters in the Khas Balkh district of Balkh province killed at least four people and wounded 50 more including civilians on Sunday, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban assured the translators that worked with the foreign forces in Afghanistan that they have nothing to fear for the work they did for the international troops only if they “show remorse”.

Thousands of Afghans have received visas to live abroad after serving alongside US and NATO troops but hundreds more are scrambling to leave before US President Joe Biden’s September 11 withdrawal deadline.

In recent weeks many interpreters have demonstrated in Kabul, demanding foreign forces and embassies that they worked with help them relocate.

“They shall not be in any danger on our part,” the Taliban said in a statement. “The Islamic Emirate would like to inform all the above people that they should show remorse for their past actions and must not engage in such activities in the future that amount to treason against Islam and the country.”

While Afghans were viewed as foes when they worked with foreign forces, they will not face any issues “when they abandon enemy ranks”, they added.

“Hence they should not remain fearful.” Afghan interpreter Mohammad Shoaib Walizada, who worked with the US army, dismissed the Taliban’s assurance.—AP/Reuters