Taliban kills 14 pro-government fighters in Afghanistan

The latest attack comes as US and Taliban officials are said to be nearing an agreement after months of negotiations.

    Taliban fighters have killed at least 14 members of a pro-government militia in Afghanistan, officials said, as the group aims to reach a deal with the United States to end the 18-year war.

    Government officials said on Wednesday that several civilians were wounded in the clashes in the western province of Herat.

    Abdul Ahad Walizada, a spokesman for the Herat police, said the men were killed in Rubat-e-Sangi district of Herat after a large number of Taliban fighters stormed security checkpoints in the Chahardara area.

    "At least nine others are wounded in the clashes and the Taliban fighters were pushed back after Afghan forces reinforced the area," said Walizada. 

    Taliban officials were not immediately available for comment, but the Associated Press news agency said the group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Separately, in eastern Nangarhar province, governor's spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said a university professor was killed and two others wounded on Tuesday when a bomb attached to their vehicle went off in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.

    No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack in Nangarhar, where the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) are active. 

    The Taliban has been staging near-daily attacks across the country, usually targetting Afghan forces and government officials, or those seen as loyal to the government.

    The latest attacks came as the US and Taliban officials are said to be nearing an agreement, after months of negotiations, under which the US would start to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban's pledge that it will not allow the country to harbour other hardline Muslim armed groups. 

    Despite negotiations, the fighting has not subsided, as the civilian casualty rates across Afghanistan jumped back to record levels last month. 

    According to the United Nations, more than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict in July alone, the highest monthly casualties so far this year and the worst in a single month since May 2017.

    SOURCE: News agencies