An Afghan man wounded in a roadside blast is treated at a local hospital in the city of Ghazni on Friday. AP
At least one member of an Afghan militia opened fire on his fellow militiamen early Saturday, killing nine, in what the country's interior ministry called an insider attack.
The Taliban however claimed the attack was actually a coordinated insurgent assault on the checkpoint where the shooting took place, killing over two dozen militiamen, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy, but the Taliban often exaggerate their claims.
Details were sketchy and investigators were still looking into the attack in central Ghazni province's Karabagh district, said Interior Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman. The number of attackers was also not immediately clear.
Afghan militias operate in remote regions and are under the command of the country's National Security Forces, which suffers near daily Taliban attacks.
The Taliban now control or hold sway over half the country.
Insider attacks have been steady throughout the 18-year conflict, with US and NATO troops most often targeted. But when Afghan security forces are targeted, the casualty rate is often much higher.
In July, two US service members were killed by an Afghan soldier in the southern Kandahar province. The shooter was wounded and arrested. In September, three US military personnel were wounded when an member of the Afghan Civil Order Police fired on a military convoy, also in Kandahar.
Abdul Samad Salehi, a provincial councilman, says the convoy was heading to defuse a roadside bomb on Wednesday afternoon when the ambush happened in Anardara district.
Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry also says three other soldiers were wounded in Thursday's attack in the Chahar Asyab district in Kabul province.
The explosions, in the capital Kabul and central province of Parwan, killed at least 45 people and injured dozens, according to police and health officials.
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai also defended the Taliban's role in recent bloodshed across the country after US President Donald Trump cited an attack that killed an American soldier as his reason for calling off negotiations earlier this month.
The dispute has led to the grounding of 21 planes out of 53 A350s operated by Qatar Airways and cast a pall over the airline's preparations for the World Cup later this year.
Authorities in Tonga, hit by a massive volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15, have asked for aid to be delivered without human contact amid concerns a COVID outbreak would be devastating for the tiny Pacific island nation.
The World Bank ranks the crisis as among the most severe globally since the mid-19th century, devastating a country once seen as a wealthy and liberal outpost in the Middle East before civil war broke out from 1975 to 1990.