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Taliban reportedly kill 14 Afghan troops, capture 21 in Herat Province

Herat, Afghanistan. (Marius Arnesen/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Provincial officials in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat say Taliban fighters staged a coordinated attack overnight on two Afghan army outposts, killing 14 Afghan soldiers and capturing another 21.

Najibullah Mohebi, a member of Herat’s Provincial Council, said the attack began late on December 6 in the Shindand District – a district where one of the largest Afghan Air Force bases is located about 110 kilometers from the border with Iran.

Mohebi says the fighting lasted six hours, stretching into the early morning hours of December 7, before reinforcements arrived and pushed back the attackers.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Ghafor Ahmad Jaweed put the number of Afghan soldiers killed at 10.

Shindand district chief Hekmatullah Hekmat said that as many as 200 Taliban fighters took part in the attack using rocket-propelled grenade launchers and automatic assault rifles.

Hekmat said 30 Taliban fighters were killed and that fighting was continuing sporadically in the area on December 7.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid posted a video on Twitter showing what he said were the captive Afghan soldiers being held inside a room.

The authenticity of the video could not immediately be confirmed.

The Taliban spokesman also claimed 14 Afghan government troops were killed in the battle.