Taliban militants overrun Afghan army base

Kill 17 soldiers, capture dozens

In Afghanistan, Taliban militants overran large parts of an army base in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 soldiers, wounding 15 and capturing dozens more in fighting over the past two days, officials said on Tuesday.
The insurgents had captured tanks and ammunition in Chenayeeha army base, in Ghormach district of Faryab province, in an offensive that began on Sunday, according to Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, head of the provincial council.
“We have not been able to enter the base. Large parts of the base are still under the Taliban control,” Rahmani said.
Militants gained control of the base in Ghormach district of volatile Faryab province after days of heavy fighting, according to army spokesman for northern Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Rezaee, adding that 100 soldiers were on the base when it was first attacked Sunday.
“It is a tragedy that the base fell to the enemy. Some soldiers were martyred, some captured and some fled to nearby hills,” Rezaee told media.
The Taliban attack in the north coincided with clashes in southeastern province of Ghazni, which lies on the main highway linking Kabul with the south.
Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded during clashes there since last week, and hard-pressed Afghan forces received air support from U.S. forces.
Residents who had fled the Ghazni city, the provincial capital, reported that the Taliban had cut telecommunications, electricity and water supplies, hospitals were running out medical supplies, while shops, homes and some government buildings had been destroyed.
Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and under intense pressure, have been struggling to beat back insurgents since US-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.
The attack on Ghazni is the largest tactical onslaught by the Taliban since an unprecedented truce in June brought fighting between security forces and the Taliban to a brief stop, providing battle-worn Afghans some welcome relief.
The city remains in government hands, officials have said, but the insurgents appeared entrenched there Tuesday, according to residents who said they were burning buildings, killing civilians and firing on security forces conducting a clearing operation.—AFP

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