21 insurgents, 4 policemen killed in Afghanistan clashes

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Moseni said the Taliban launched four assaults on Ghor's Taywara district headquarters early Sunday and "we had no choice but to retreat".

An errant US airstrike confirmed by the Pentagon killed 12 Afghan National Police officers and wounded two others, as another 11 police were killed and six wounded in clashes with the Taliban, Afghan officials said on July 22.

The friendly fire incident, now under investigation, happened during a US-supported Afghan National Defense and Security Forces operation that aimed to go after militants in Gereshk district, US Forces-Afghanistan said.

"A large number of Taliban [attacked] Kohistan district centre from several directions around 9pm on Saturday", said Javed Bedar, a spokesman for the Faryab governor.

The reasons why these villagers have been referred to are unknown, but this type of operation target, in general, the officials of the Kabul government and the security forces.

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The officials in the districts say they have appealed for reinforcements and for special forces in order to drive back the insurgents. The statement, however, said 46 Afghan government security forces were killed. Mewanwhile, in northern Badakhshan province Gov. Ahmad Faisal Bigzad said on July 22 that that 11 police were killed and another six wounded during a roaring battle with Taliban insurgents in the remote Tagab region.

Various reports said 20-30 of the villagers were later released or escaped and that about 33 remain in captivity. The area in which the fighting occurred is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and telephone contact is unsteady.

The central province of Ghor shares borders with two insecure provinces, Farah in the northwest and Helmand in the south, both of which are known as strongholds for Taliban fighters, Mahdavi said.

The kidnappings took place in the aftermath of a clash between Afghanistan troops and Taliban on the road connecting Uruzgan and Kandahar, in which the latter suffered "many casualties". Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area made it impossible to independently verify.