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Dozens of Afghan soldiers killed by Taliban as government suffers setbacks

Herat, Afghanistan. (Marius Arnesen/Flickr)

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

Afghan officials on March 17 reported setbacks for government security forces in northwestern and northern parts of the country.

In the northwestern province of Badghis, provincial council member Mohammad Naser Nazari said about 100 Afghan soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighboring Turkmenistan during a weeklong battle against Taliban fighters.

Nazari said on March 17 that 50 government soldiers had been killed during the battle in Badghis’s Bala Murghab district during the past week.

He said the Bala Murghab district was almost completely controlled by the Taliban, with government forces confined to the district headquarters.

Jamshid Shahabi, a spokesman for Badghis’s provincial governor, put the casualty toll for government forces at 16 killed and 20 wounded during the past week.

Shahabi confirmed that a number of Afghan troops tried to flee but did not provide an exact figure.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Faryab, provincial council chief Mohammad Tahir Rahmani said Taliban fighters killed at least 22 Afghan soldiers with attacks on their checkpoints late on March 16 and early on March 17.

Rahmani said 20 Afghan government troops were wounded in Faryab Province overnight.