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Taliban attacks in Kandahar kill 22 Afghan policemen

TALIBAN ATTACKS IN KANDAHAR KILL 22 AFGHAN POLICEMEN

At least 22 Afghan policemen and 45 Taliban militants got killed in overnight clashes in the southern province of Kandahar's Maiwand and Zheray districts, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Mati Ullah, interim spokesman for the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Kandahar city, told Anadolu Agency that groups of armed Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on at least 15 checkpoints in the province on Monday night.

He added the clashes continued till 3.30 a.m local time on Tuesday (2300GMT Monday) with the Afghan police putting up a strong resistance.

"We have 22 policemen martyred and 15 others are wounded," Ullah said, adding 35 militants were also wounded in the clashes.

The overnight attacks come a day after a suicide car bomb hit a convoy of the U.S. troops in the province's Dand district leaving four Americans wounded.

Often regarded as the birthplace of the Taliban, Kandahar has been at relative peace of late, but as winter approaches, the province is likely to witness further surge in violence due to its relatively modest climate compared to many northern parts of the country.

According to the ANP spokesman, the Taliban wished to overrun the Maiwand district lying on the border with the restive Helmand province, but were repulsed.

Meanwhile, the Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi has claimed in a statement that 73 security personnel were killed overnight in Kandahar and the previous day in Farah.

Afghan officials, however, have only confirmed the killing of eight policemen in Sunday night's offensives by the Taliban on checkpoints in the western province of Farah bordering Iran.

Nasir Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Anadolu Agency that the checkposts in the Pul Regi area on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Farah City came under attack at around 2 a.m. on Monday morning [2130GMT Sunday]. He stated that the attackers fled taking away arms and ammunition with them.

The relatively peaceful Farah province is witnessing a surge in such attacks. Senior provincial officials, including the chairman of the provincial assembly, Jamil Amini has repeatedly blamed Iran for equipping and supporting the Taliban in the province, a claim rejected by Tehran.

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