Taliban militants in Afghanistan have killed at least 16 police officers and two civilians in the western province of Badghis, officials announced.
The Friday report of the casualties came after the militants waged an operation on Thursday to capture eight checkpoints in Badghis. This followed earlier clashes on Wednesday in which at least 30 more Afghan soldiers were killed in the province, resulting in the capture of a military base by the Taliban, Reuters reported citing a senior security official in Kabul.
The militants resumed the campaign against government and US-led forces in the country on Thursday after rejecting an offer by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to prolong a ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday that expired on Sunday.
Reuters further cited Haji Saleh Bek, the governor of the Abkamari district of Badghis, as confirming that the Taliban had succeeded in taking over two security checkpoints on Thursday and killed the 16 police officers.
Another Afghan official, identified as Mohammad Naser Nazari, further stated that the Taliban had planted an explosive device on the body of a dead soldier that exploded when people attempted to retrieve the casualties. Two civilians were also killed in the incident.
However, the report added, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the most recent attack. This is while the Taliban remain active in Badghis and have repeatedly claimed blames for attacks against Afghan security forces there.
Meanwhile, the Taliban also assaulted a road construction company compound in the Spin Boldak area of the southern province of Kandahar late on Thursday, according a local government official.
The insurgents then kidnapped 13 engineers and 20 security guards, officials announced. Four security forces were killed when they attempted to rescue the hostages, all of whom were Afghan nationals.
Last month, seven Indian engineers and an Afghan national working for a power plant were kidnapped in Baghlan province in the north, prompting several private international companies to reduce their presence in Afghanistan.