This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Taliban militants have stormed security posts in western Afghanistan, killing 21 police officers and pro-government militia members, officials said on January 7.
The attacks occurred late on January 6 at checkpoints in two different parts of Badghis Province, which borders the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, provincial officials said.
Abdul Aziz Bek, head of the Badghis provincial council, said 14 police officers and seven members of pro-government militias were killed, while nine were wounded.
Jamshid Shahabi, a spokesman for the Badghis provincial governor, said at least 15 Taliban militants were killed and 10 wounded in the fighting.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said in a statement that militants killed 34 members of the security forces and pro-government militias and seized many weapons and ammunition.
Meanwhile, a roadside bombing has killed five civilians and wounded seven in the country’s eastern Paktika Province, an Afghan official said on January 7.
Nawroz Ishaq, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said the attack occurred in the Jani Khail district.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but provincial official Mohammad Rasoul Adel blamed the Taliban, saying the group had left the bomb in a village square.
Taliban representatives and U.S. officials are scheduled to meet this month to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces and a possible cease-fire.
Officials from the warring sides have met at least three times in recent months to try to agree on a way to end the 17-year war.
The Taliban says it is fighting to oust the Western-backed government and restore strict Islamic law.
The United States and its allies say they want to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for international Islamist militants plotting attacks in the West.