18 killed in Afghan car bombing

A auto bombing killed at least 18 people Saturday morning in eastern Afghanistan, the latest strike in a war-weary nation now observing the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Also, last week, 20 policemen were killed and a dozen more wounded in Taliban attacks on several checkposts in the neighbouring Zabul province.

In eastern Khost province, a Taliban attacker detonated a auto bomb near a football field that is close to a military base, officials said.

Locals told Anadolu Agency the attacker apparently targeted the Afghan security forces' convoy in the provincial capital Khost City. "The victims were in civilian clothes and it is hard to verify their identities".

Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said in a tweet that the attack - which Taliban immediately claimed as part of their ongoing annual offensives - had left 18 people dead, and six others injured including two children.

The incident comes during the spring offensive of the Taliban, the militant group that long has fought the government and US-led coalition forces, and as ISIS works to establish a presence in the country.

Late on Wednesday, insurgents staged a surprise assault on an army base in the province's Maiwand district and killed 13 soldiers. Corruption, desertion and "ghost soldiers" - those who exist on the payroll but whose salaries are usurped by corrupt commanders - are cited as the primary causes for battlefield setbacks.

The pleas for attention, a major embarrassment for the Western-backed government, highlighted the disarray in security ranks.

The Taliban in Afghanistan killed at least 18 soldiers in an attack on a military base in southern Kandahar province on late Thursday, local media reported.

The United States and several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are considering sending thousands more troops to break the stalemate against the resurgent militants.


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