NEW HEADLINE, DECK; UPDATED DEATH TOLL, ADDS ATTACKS, REACTIONS AND CONDEMNATION
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - At least 36 security forces were killed and over 60 others wounded in northern Afghanistan amid a surge in Taliban-claimed attacks, officials confirmed on Monday.
A suicide car bombing and armed assault in Samangan left at least 10 security forces dead and over 50 wounded, the provincial administration said hours after the attack in the provincial capital, Aibak.
A Taliban propaganda site said what it called three "heroes" carried out the assault.
Condemning the assault, President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban have adopted the “worst approach” to seek greater leverage in negotiations through such terrorist attacks.
Earlier, Esmatullah Muradi, spokesman for the governor of the Kunduz province, told Anadolu Agency the insurgents staged coordinated attacks in the Chahar Dara and Imam Sahib districts late Sunday evening. He confirmed that 14 security forces and three Taliban insurgents were killed in an exchange of fire.
The Taliban took responsibility for the attacks in Kunduz. The group's spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in a statement that 19 government forces were killed in attacks on checkpoints in both districts.
In the nearby Badakhshan and Ghor province, the Taliban orchestrated similar deadly assaults killing at least 12 security forces, officials told Anadolu Agency.
In another statement, the group's spokesman also claimed the attack, asserting that eight policemen were killed.
Meanwhile, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan urged the warring parties to take measures to prevent civilian harm, tweeting: "Initial reports indicate Taliban-claimed car bomb attack on NDS [National Directorate of Security] in Samangan Afghanistan injured dozens of civilians. UNAMA urges all parties to comply with international humanitarian law and protect civilians."
The Taliban in Afghanistan on Sunday rejected outright growing calls by the Afghan government and international community for a cease-fire.
Mujahid earlier said in a series of tweets that implementation of the Doha agreement with the US and starting intra-Afghan negotiations are necessary toward de-escalation and the end of the war.
"If anyone seeks ceasefire before talks then such is illogical. War is raging precisely b/c we have yet to find an alternative," he said.
Last week, Afghan President Ghani warned the peace process might face "serious challenges" if the Taliban continues its aggression.