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Afghan Taliban kill 14 pro-government militia members

US troops are seen through a firing position at the Afghan National Army (ANA) checkpoint in the Nerkh district of Wardak Province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 6, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Taliban militants in Afghanistan have killed at least 14 pro-government militia members and wounded several other people in the country’s western province of Herat, government officials say.

The casualties occurred when a large number of Taliban militants stormed security checkpoints in the Chahardara area, in Rubat-e-Sangi district of Herat, Abdul Ahad Walizada, a spokesman for Herat police, said on Wednesday.

“At least nine others are wounded in the clashes, and the Taliban militants were pushed back after Afghan forces reinforced the area,” said Walizada.

It was not clear precisely how many of the wounded were civilians, and potential casualties on the part of the Taliban were also not mentioned in reports.

The attack comes as the Taliban and United States officials are said to be nearing a deal aimed at ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

On August 22, representatives from the US and the Taliban resumed a new round of talks in Qatar’s capital city, Doha.

The Taliban, which now control or have influence in about half of Afghanistan’s territory, have held several rounds of direct talks with US officials in the Qatari capital since October last year. The militants say they do not recognize the government in Kabul and refuse to talk to it.

Eighteen years ago, the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a Taliban regime. It is still fighting the militants in what has become the longest war in US history.

The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan is a condition set by the Taliban during the talks.

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