15 security personnel killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

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Eighteen members of the security forces were killed by the Taliban on Saturday in the western Farah province in Afghanistan.

The insurgents have recently stepped up attacks against Afghan security forces across Farah province.

The fighting in Farah underlines the continuing strength of the Taliban movement, which controls or contests nearly half of Afghanistan, and has so far rejected peace overtures from President Ashraf Ghani.

Eight police officers, including a local police commander, were killed and 10 others were wounded in the morning attack, he said.

Afghan officials say government forces have retaken control of a district headquarters in western Afghanistan that was briefly seized by Taliban militants.

The provincial government said 13 militants were also killed in the fighting. He added that the casualty numbers could rise battle was still intense.

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The largest number of militants (54) was killed in the southern province of Kandahar.

In the eastern province of Nangarhar, seven civilians, including three children and two women, were reported killed late on March 11 when their vehicle was hit by a grenade or a rocket.

Khogyani said two other people in the vehicle were wounded in the attack in Bati Kot district.

Years have passed since the time when, years into the war, USA military and civilian officials heatedly debated "counterinsurgency" as contrasted with "counterterrorism", distinctions that now seem less than crucial.

Afghan and Western officials warn that the country's security could further deteriorate in the coming year, even as the USA military finds itself drawn deeper into the war, with additional military advisers arriving to help Afghan forces. Residents of Farah city have complained bitterly about security in the province, where some police units are alleged to collude with Taliban fighters, selling them weapons and ammunition.

"If they are not fought back, the district will be taken over entirely".

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