Afghan security forces work at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. File photo
Taliban insurgents have killed 27 members of the Afghan security forces, police and government officials said on Monday, as a peace effort brokered by the United States struggles to get off the ground.
The Taliban and the United States struck a deal last month allowing the United States and its allies to withdraw their forces in exchange for Taliban promises on preventing terrorism.
A Taliban commitment to talk peace with the US-backed government was part of the pact but efforts to get talks going have been hampered by differences between the government and the Taliban on a prisoner exchange and on negotiating teams.
The Taliban have not agreed to a ceasefire with government forces and fighting has not ended, although the insurgents have not announced any spring offensive, which they normally do at this time of the year.
In the latest clashes, insurgents stormed the compound of a top police officer in the northeastern province of Takhar on Sunday, killing 13 policemen and wounding the senior officer, a spokesman for the force said.
In the southern province of Zabul, Taliban forces attacked government security outposts, killing at least 11 soldiers, also on Sunday, police said. The ministry of defence said on Twitter six soldiers were killed in those clashes.
Government security posts were also attacked in the southern province of Helmand and northern province of Baghlan, officials said. Four members of the security forces were killed in both attacks.
Thirteen Taliban fighters were killed in Baghlan, according to police spokesman. The Taliban also suffered casualties in the other three attacks, officials said, but they did not provide details.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Kabul and Doha, where the Taliban have an office, last week to urge all sides involved to move the process forward.Reuters
The violence comes even as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week announced his 21-member team to negotiate peace with the Taliban, only to have his political opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, reject it as not inclusive enough.
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.
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.
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