Afghan soldiers killed in western province

A large group of Taliban fighters captured the centre of Anar Dara District

Afghan security forces recaptured a district headquarters in western Farah province on Monday, just hours after the Taliban overrun the police and administrative offices, killing eight policemen including their local commander, a spokesman said.

"There is no word on whether these people have been killed, wounded or escaped the area", he said.

Bakhtawar said around 300 Taliban took part in the offensive, which started around midnight, and that around 15 members of the Afghan security forces were missing.

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No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and the Daesh group are active in eastern Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar province.

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The exact number of killed or wounded is still not clear as the fighting is still under way, officials said.

The attack triggered a deadly skirmish between fighters from the militant movement and security forces. The victims are all members of a single family, he added.

Those among the killed were nine members of the Afghan Special Operations Forces, according to the report. "There are casualties to the police, but we lost contact with them and we have no idea about their condition, including the police chief of the district".

"The overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taleban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan National Security Forces performance, and chronic financial shortfalls", Mr Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, told the US Senate last week.

Saturday's attack came ahead of an expected increase in fighting with the end of winter and the approach of spring.

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