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Taliban kill 26 Afghan soldiers in Kandahar

TALIBAN KILL 26 AFGHAN SOLDIERS IN KANDAHAR

A massive Taliban assault on an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in southern Kandahar province has killed at least 26 soldiers and left 13 wounded, an official confirmed on Wednesday.

Gen. Dawlat Wazir, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, told Anadolu Agency the Karzyalay base in the Khakrez district came under attack on Tuesday night.

"The brave soldiers of the Afghan National Army resisted valiantly and in these clashes more than 80 Taliban militants have been killed and wounded." he said. "Unfortunately, 26 soldiers who were busy fighting the terrorists embraced martyrdom and 13 others are wounded."

However, the Taliban claimed to have killed up to 74 soldiers at the base.

This latest attack comes amid a nationwide surge in militant activity. The military on Tuesday claimed up to 200 militants had been killed in recent counterterrorism offensives across the country.

The Taliban claim to have overrun three districts in Faryab, Ghor and Paktia provinces as well as making inroads in Kunduz, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

In a separate attack, a district governor of the western Farah province and five of his guards died in a bomb attack on Tuesday. The Taliban claimed the bombing, which killed Abdul Raheem, governor of Sheb Koh district of Farah province on the border with Iran.

The escalation in violence has followed the militants' loss of their stronghold in southern Helmand's Nawa district to government forces last week.

Lying south of the Taliban's birthplace in Kandahar, Helmand produces most of the country's opium and remains one of the most insecure provinces in Afghanistan, with the militants controlling large swaths of land.

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