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Taliban storms police station in Afghanistan

Taliban storms police station in Afghanistan

Coalition and Afghan forces killed at least 19 Taliban after some 200 militants surrounded and attacked a police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, the governor's spokesman said yesterday.Taliban militants, driving four-wheel-drive vehicles, poured into the Helmand provincial town of Nawzad around midday Wednesday and set up positions around a police compound where Afghan soldiers and police, along with coalition forces, were based, Ghulam Muhiddin said.
"The Taliban surrounded this area, including a nearby bazaar, and told all their shopkeepers to leave before attacking the compound with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades," Muhiddin told The Associated Press.
Coalition warplanes launched several airstrikes, killing 12 militants after hitting a Taliban vehicle and killing another seven when they struck an insurgent position near the compound, Muhiddin said.
Coalition spokeswoman Captain Julie Roberge said soldiers and Afghan forces inside the compound returned fire on the besieging Taliban forces.
The brazen attack was one of the largest since a March 29 Taliban raid on a coalition base in Helmand's Sangin district that left more than 30 militants and a U.S. and Canadian soldier dead.
Significantly, the latest Taliban strike came amid a large-scale anti-Taliban offensive being waged across southern Afghanistan by more than 10,000 U.S., Canadian, British and Afghan soldiers.
Coalition forces are trying to crush the deadliest spike of Taliban-led violence since the hard-line regime was toppled in late 2001 following the September 11 attacks on the United States.
More than 700 people, mainly insurgents, have been killed since coalition forces began the offensive in mid-May. More than 20 coalition soldiers have died in the same time.
Coalition forces have been entering volatile southern regions where Taliban militants have long faced little resistance. The operation comes ahead of NATO's scheduled assumption of control of military operations from the United States across the south.