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Taliban attack on Afghan military outpost kills dozens

Taliban attack on Afghan military outpost kills dozens

KABUL: A Taliban attack on an Afghan military outpost killed up to 44 policemen and soldiers on Wednesday, while a separate suicide blast in Kabul killed at least 48 people as a relentless wave of violence continued across Afghanistan. At least 37 people were initially reported dead and 47 others injured, majority students, but there were unconfirmed reports of much higher casualties. "What we observed, as these Afghan-led operations drove a large portion of Taliban from the city over the last day or so, was the retreating Taliban attacking the more vulnerable surrounding districts, which Afghan forces are reinforcing".

Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the assault.

Afghan officials say a Taliban assault on two adjacent checkpoints in the northern Baghlan province has killed 30 soldiers and police.

The Kabul bombing also followed a fierce five-day Taliban siege on the large eastern city of Ghazni that killed at least 120 security forces and civilians before the insurgents retreated under pressure from Afghan forces backed by US aerial assaults. He said reinforcements have been dispatched to help recapture the checkpoints.

There is still fighting on the outskirts of the city, which lies 150km (90 miles) south of Kabul.

As an impartial organization, the Red Crescent can assist people on either side of the conflict, she said, adding that about 500 health kits have already been sent to Ghazni's hospitals, along with 200 caskets for those killed in battle.

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Afghan forces are conducting clearing operations in the city, but hundreds of civilians have fled, trying to escape the fierce fighting, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

In recent months, the Taliban have seized several districts across Afghanistan, staging near-daily attacks on security forces, but they have been unable to capture and hold urban areas.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in the southern Zabul province early Wednesday, killing four policemen, according to the provincial police chief, Mustafa Mayar, who said another three officers were wounded.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman LT COL Martin O'Donnell told CBS News on Tuesday, hours after Taliban militants overran a remote Afghan military base in the country's north, killing 17 Afghan forces in the process, that the base was found to be completely abandoned later in the day.

"U.S. airpower has killed more than 220 Taliban since August 10", O'Donnell said. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the USA, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years.

"The extreme human suffering caused by the fighting in Ghazni highlights the urgent need for the war in Afghanistan to end", the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said in a statement. It is also plagued by roadside bombs planted by insurgents, which are usually intended for security forces but often kill and wound civilians.