In this photograph shows Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. File photo/AFP
A Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan killed at least 17 local militiamen, an Afghan official said on Sunday.
The attack apparently targeted a local militia commander who escaped unharmed, said Jawad Hajri, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province, where the attack took place late Saturday.
Local Afghan militias commonly operate in remote areas, and are under the command of either the defence or interior ministries.
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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack came even as Taliban officials have told the media that a temporary nationwide cease-fire may be in the works.
The Taliban have previously refused all offers of a ceasefire by the Afghan government, except for a three-day truce in June 2018 over the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
The current cease-fire proposal would last a week to 10 days. During that time, a peace deal with the United States would then be signed, the Taliban officials said. Talks between Afghans on both sides of the conflict would follow to decide on the shape of a post-war Afghanistan.
The Taliban shura, or ruling council, is currently debating whether to accept the US cease-fire proposal, the Taliban officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, but were familiar with the ongoing US-Taliban negotiations.
On Monday, an American soldier was killed in combat in the northern Kunduz province. The Taliban claimed they were behind a fatal roadside bombing that targeted American and Afghan forces in Kunduz.
The following day, a Taliban attack on a checkpoint killed at least seven Afghan army soldiers in the northern Balkh province.
Another six Afghan troops were killed in the same province Thursday in an attack on an army base. At least 10 Afghan soldiers were killed Friday in a complex attack on a checkpoint in the southern Helmand province.
The Taliban frequently target Afghan and U.S. forces, as well as government officials. But scores of Afghan civilians are also killed in the crossfire or by roadside bombs planted by militants.Associated Press
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.
Police chief spokesman Abdul Ahid Walizada said on Wednesday that seven others were wounded in the Tuesday night attack in Robat Sangi district. He said an unspecified number of Taliban fighters suffered casualties.
The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul.
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.
A Thai Airways International jet headed to Bangkok accidentally hit an Eva Airways plane headed to Taipei at Haneda airport and the runway was subsequently closed and some flights were delayed, the reports said.
For China, which is behind the CPEC projects in the region, this trilateral cooperation would go a long way to ensure that security threats are addressed for these projects to be completed, The News reported.
If the parties fail to observe the ceasefire, "facilitators will be compelled to consider adjourning the Jeddah talks", the US and Saudi joint statement added, referring to negotiations to try to end almost two months of clashes in Sudan.
Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State, participated in the Global Coalition Against Daesh Ministerial Meeting held in Riyadh and led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.