12 Afghan militiamen killed in insider attack, police say; Taliban claims responsibility
At least two members of an Afghan militia opened fire on their fellow militiamen in the western province of Herat, killing 12, in what provincial police on Saturday described as an insider attack.
Herat police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada said the attackers fled with the slain militiamen’s weapons and ammunition, adding that Afghan government forces had regained control of the area.
In a tweet, Taliban spokesman Yousaf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place late Friday.
Meanwhile, a sticky bomb attached to an armored police SUV exploded Saturday in Kabul, killing two policemen and wounding another, Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said.
Faramarz did not specify the identities of the casualties. However, two members of the Afghan police force, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said Kabul’s deputy police chief, Mawlana Bayan, was wounded in the attack.
U.S. troops are rushing to exit Afghanistan as the insurgency it never managed to defeat regains ground across much of the country.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in Kabul.
In the southern Helmand province, a suicide car bomber targeted a police compound late Friday, killing one policeman and wounding two others, provincial police spokesman Zaman Hamdard said. The attack took place in the Lashkar Gah district on the highway between southern Helmand province and the city of Kandahar.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Helmand.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in the capital in recent months, including on educational institutions that killed 50 people, most of them students. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks in December that targeted the major U.S. military base in Afghanistan. There were no casualties.
The violence comes as the representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government earlier this month resumed peace talks in Qatar. However, the negotiations were off to a slow start as the insurgents continue their attacks on Afghan government forces while keeping their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops.
The stop-and-go talks are aimed at ending decades of relentless conflict. Frustration and fear have grown over the recent spike in violence and each side blames the other.
There has also been growing doubt lately over a U.S.-Taliban deal brokered by the outgoing Trump administration. That accord was signed last February. Under the deal, an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops ordered by President Trump means that just 2,500 American soldiers will still be in Afghanistan when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday.
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