The Taliban launched a wave of attacks on security checkpoints in southern Afghanistan overnight, killing a total of 28 Afghan policemen, officials said.
Zelgai Ebadi, a spokesman for the Uruzgan governor, said Taliban fighters offered 28 local and national police officials a chance to go home if they surrendered on Tuesday night, “but after taking their guns, the Taliban killed them all”.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the attacks and said the armed group carried them out after the police in the area refused to surrender to the fighters.
Another local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, put the toll at least 28 police officials, adding that three others managed to escape.
Reinforcements were not able to get to the outposts to save the officers but Ebadi said Afghan security forces were later back in charge of the checkpoints.
The violence comes as Taliban leaders and Afghan government-appointed negotiators started the long-delayed peace talks in Qatar earlier this month.
The negotiations are meant to end the fighting and establish a plan for a post-war society.
Wednesday’s killings come after at least 14 Afghan police and soldiers were killed overnight on Sunday.
During the negotiations in Qatar, both sides have spent more than a week deciding agendas and the manner in which the two sides will be conducting the negotiations.
The Afghan and US governments have called for a reduction in violence while talks are being held but the Taliban said it would not commit to a reduction until the terms of a ceasefire are negotiated and trust issues on both sides are resolved.