Taliban attack kills 13 Afghan soldiers


In this photograph taken on December 18, 2012, Afghan Local Police (ALP) personnel patrol near their base in Goshta district of Nangarhar province. The Afghan Local Police, branded by some critics as an incompetent Taliban-linked militia, is one of the many security challenges facing the country as international troops withdraw.


SHAH Marai

At least 13 Afghan soldiers have been killed in an attack by the Taliban on a remote outpost in the eastern province of Kunar.

Located in a remote and mountainous region, the outpost is said to be in an area vulnerable to attacks. Kunar province is known to be volatile as it is a major gateway for insurgents coming from Pakistan. Weather is now improving in the area, making passage through the mountains easier.

The fighting in Kunar's Nari district started at dawn and went on for five hours before leaving the 13 Afghan soldiers dead, the Associated Press reported.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack. He said the insurgents captured the base and seized weapons and ammunition, and actually killed 15 soldiers, according to the AP. Mujahid also said the Taliban suffered no casualties.

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US and other foreign troops, who currently advise and train Afghan forces, are preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

About 100,000 international troops, including 66,000 from the US, currently aid the Afghan army. That total should drop to about 32,000 by early 2014, the Obama adminstration has indicated, with the majority of the reduction occurring after fighting slows this winter.