KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban insurgents killed seven Afghan policemen after storming security checkpoints overnight in western Badghis province, a provincial official said Saturday.
Mohammad Naser Nazari, a provincial councilman, said three other security forces were wounded late Friday during the attack in Qadis district.
The Taliban did not comment on the attack.
The Afghan defense ministry also said Saturday that 43 militants from the Islamic state group, including foreign fighters, were killed in two separate coalition airstrikes during the night in coordination with Afghan forces. The statement said the airstrikes targeted IS in eastern Kunar province’s Chapadara district and killed several Pakistani and Uzbek nationals.
Among those killed was a prominent Uzbek militant leader identified in the statement as Ismail, who had previously cooperated with the al-Qaeda terrorist network but had recently joined IS.
Both the Taliban and IS are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Kunar and neighboring Nangarhar provinces, which border Pakistan.
In eastern Ghani province, dozens of people carried eight bodies to the governor’s office in a protest Saturday, saying the dead were civilians killed during military operations.
The governor’s spokesman, Arif Noori, confirmed that at least five civilians had been killed Friday night by Afghan and international forces, which were conducting operations against the Taliban in three areas in the province. Noori said 22 Taliban fighters were killed, including their group leader.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied reports the group’s fighters were killed. He said several civilians were killed and wounded during the operations by Afghan and coalition forces in Ghazni.
The Taliban carry out near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, and despite ongoing peace talks with the U.S., the insurgent group refuses to stop fighting until U.S. and NATO troops withdraw.
In August last year the insurgents overran parts of Ghazni, leading to days of intense fighting before they were driven out.
Ghazni was the only one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces where parliamentary elections did not take place in October. Voting there has been postponed for a year, according to the Election commission plan both presidential and parliamentary elections will take place on September 28 in the province.