Seven Policemen Killed as Taliban Storms Checkpoint
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Seven policemen were killed when the Taliban stormed a checkpoint in the eastern Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, a provincial official said on Monday.
The attack took place the previous night in the district of Ghani Kahil, said the provincial police chief, Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai.
Five Taliban fighters were killed in the attack, he said.
Stanikzai also said that in Khogyani district, also in Nangarhar, a government airstrike on Sunday night left 20 Taliban fighters dead.
There was no statement from the Taliban on either the Ghani Kahil attack or the airstrike.
Earlier on Sunday, a suicide bomber on foot struck outside the building of the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry in the capital, Kabul, killing seven people and wounding 15.
The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement Monday on its Aamaq news agency, saying it targeted government employees and warning their attacks will reach “all who help the Crusaders,” a term militants use to refer to foreign forces.
Last month, a suicide bombing near the same ministry killed 12 people and wounded 31 others, mostly government employees.
On Monday, police shot a suspected suicide bomber as he approached a demonstration in the center of the capital Kabul, officials said.
The man was shot following a challenge by police as he approached a gathering in the Shar-e Naw park in Kabul’s main business area, police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said, adding that the man was apprehended but died of his wounds.
His apparent target was a demonstration urging that exiled Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum be allowed to return to Afghanistan from Turkey.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban and ISIS have stepped up their attacks in Kabul.
Meanwhile, intense week-long battles have been underway between the Taliban and ISIS in northern Jawzjan province, according to Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, the provincial police chief.
Jawzjani said on Monday that around 70 ISIS fighters and 54 Taliban insurgents may have been killed in the fighting in districts of Darzab and Qushtipa.
The information, which came from the rival sides, could not be immediately verified by the security forces, Jawzjani also said.
“Both sides are using small arms against each other, with their battles mainly taking place in the villages of both districts,” he added.
A statement from the Taliban said that along with killing 70 ISIS fighters, including five top leaders in Darzab, 21 others were captured in battle. There was no immediate comment from ISIS.
Over the weekend, a UN report showed a record number of civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018, with militant attacks and suicide bombs the leading causes of death.
The toll of 1,692 fatalities was one percent more than a year earlier and the highest for the period since the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began keeping records in 2009.
Another 3,430 people were wounded in the war, down five percent from the same period last year, the report said.