Taliban kills eight poll commission staff in south Afghanistan-officials

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan government officials said the militants had exaggerated the casualty figures. [Courtesy]
Taliban fighters killed eight election commission employees on Saturday night inside a district center in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, officials said.

The employees of the Independent Election Commission were stationed at the government office in Maruf district to register voters when fighters of the hard line Islamist group launched an attack.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman said the fighters killed election commission employees and 57 members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). They also captured 11 others with five vehicles and a large cache of weapons during the attack at the district center.

But Afghan government officials said the Taliban had exaggerated the casualty figures.

Qaseem Azad, a secretary of the Kandahar police said ANDSF suffered some casualties, but provided no further details.

Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified even as leaders of the Taliban and U.S. officials hold peace talks in Qatar to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

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Separately on Saturday, Taliban fighters killed eight Afghan soldiers and injured eight others at a military checkpoint in Balabulak district in the western province of Farah, a local official said.

Mahmood Naemi, the deputy chief of the council in Farah, said on Sunday ground clashes between the warring sides ended after Afghan forces launched air strikes.

“Many Taliban fighters were killed in the air strike,” said Naemi.

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Taliban fightersKandaharAfghanistanMaruf district