Taliban destroy highway bridges, cut off 3 Afghan provinces

AP Kabul, Afghanistan Oct 07, 2018, 06.04 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said Afghan security forces repelled the attack but that gunbattles are still underway. 

The Taliban have destroyed highway bridges southwest of Kabul during a wide-ranging assault on security forces, cutting off road traffic between the capital and three provinces, officials said Sunday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said Afghan security forces repelled the attack but that gunbattles are still underway. 

He said at least six Afghan police, including a district police chief, were killed in the fighting. 

A provincial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters, said at least 10 police were killed.

The official said the Taliban attacked a number of remote checkpoints, and that the toll could be much higher.

Abdul Rahman Mangel, the provincial governor's spokesman, said the attack began late Saturday and appeared to be aimed at seizing the Sayed Abad district headquarters, in the Maidan Wardak province.

The Taliban said they overran the district headquarters, but local officials denied the claim.

Danish said reinforcements have been sent to the area and that "most areas in the district" are under control.

The destruction of the bridges cut off the main highway from Kabul to the Ghazni, Zabul and Kandahar provinces. The battle also cut off electricity to four provinces: Maidan Wardak, Logar, Ghazni and Paktia.

The Taliban have seized a number of districts across the country in recent years and regularly attack security forces. The latest assault comes just two weeks before Afghanistan holds parliamentary elections.