Taliban take Afghan security forces hostage in Maidan Wardak | News | DW | 23.06.2018
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Taliban take Afghan security forces hostage in Maidan Wardak

The hostage-taking has caused local Afghan officials to believe collusion was involved. The incident came as Paktiya Governor Shamim Katawazi survived an assassination attempt.

Afghan police and military checkpoint outside Maidan city

Afghan police and military checkpoint outside Maidan city

Taliban militants on Saturday took some 80 Afghan security force members hostage in central Maidan Wardak province following a clash between the two sides, officials said.

The Taliban took over a number of police checkpoints in the Jalriz district of the province after short periods of fighting, provincial council members Sardar Bakhteyari and Ahmad Jafari said.

Read more: Abdullah Abdullah: ‘Nobody promised Afghanistan will be paradise in 2, 3 years’ 

The Taliban has conducted coordinated attacks with the aim of overrunning Jalriz district since Thursday.

"According to local people, there were no heavy battles, but the Taliban took over several checkpoints," Bakhteyari said.

Bakhteyari said it was not possible for so many checkpoints to be taken over without some form of collusion, adding that he believed the fighting was a result of ethnic clashes in the area.

Read more: Why Taliban won't make peace with Kabul

"We have many reports that some of Public Order Police commanders have close ties with Taliban, and sometimes even watch cricket matches together in police checkpoints. Collusion in this case is not impossible," Bakhteyari continued.

Attempted assassination - peace efforts

On the same day, Paktiya Governor Shamim Katawazi survived an assassination attempt in central Logar province, a close aide told German press agency dpa on condition of anonymity.

Katawazi's convoy was attacked on the Logar-Kabul city highway, but he managed to escape unharmed.

The assassination attempt came as officials in the province worked towards persuading Taliban militants to hold peace talks, local authorities said.

The government hopes to establish the province as a safe zone for a renewed round of peace talks with the Taliban, officials said.

Government ceasefire, but ongoing fighting

In northern Faryab province, the Taliban pushed back security forces to the outskirts of the Khawja Sabz Posh district of the province, giving them greater presence.

On Wednesday, the Taliban took over a large base in the district, killing at least 17 members of the security forces.

The government and Taliban paused clashes for three days for the Eid holidays over the weekend, a move celebrated by many Afghans.

President Ashraf Ghani extended the government's ceasefire hoping the militants might do the same, but the Taliban rejected the request and increased its attacks from Saturday night.

Watch video 00:32

Afghan president calls on Taliban to join in peace talks


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