At least 20 police officers have been killed in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan’s western Farah province, an official said.
Dadullah Qaneh, a member of the provincial council in Farah, said four policemen, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the attack on the police convoy on Sunday afternoon near Lash wa Juwayn district.
Qaneh said the newly appointed chief of the district was also killed.
Another council member, Abdul Samad Salehi, said the convoy was on its way to the district to introduce the new district police chief when it came under attack.
The Taliban, which in recent years has taken nearly half of Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
It was the latest in a series of brutal, near-daily Taliban assaults on Afghan security forces throughout the country. On Friday, an explosion hit a mosque inside an army base in eastern Khost province, killing at least 26 and injuring dozens of others.
A recent report by the US watchdog, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said that since 2015, nearly 30,000 Afghan soldiers and officers have been killed, contributing to the high rate of attrition and low morale among the security forces.
In the third quarter of 2018, the number of soldiers and police personnel deployed across Afghanistan fell to 312,328 – nearly 9,000 fewer than only a year ago and the lowest level for any comparable period since 2012.
Estimated figures for 2015 show 5,000 were killed that year, with the remaining 28,529 casualties occurring since then.
Casualty figures for Afghan forces have been kept under wraps since 2017 at the request of Kabul, but NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan recently told SIGAR that this summer’s toll was worse than ever.