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14 Afghans Die in Separate Attacks     06/06 09:47

   Two separate militant attacks killed 14 Afghan security personnel on 
Saturday in the northeastern Badakhshan province and the capital of Kabul, 
officials said.

   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Two separate militant attacks killed 14 Afghan 
security personnel on Saturday in the northeastern Badakhshan province and the 
capital of Kabul, officials said.

   A roadside bomb killed 11 security force members in Badakhshan when it tore 
through a security vehicle responding to attacks on checkpoints in Khash 
district. Sanaullah Rohani, spokesman for Badakhshan's provincial police chief, 
said a local commander was among the dead, and that four militants were killed 
in the fighting.

   An hour-long gunbattle also erupted in Kabul's Gul Dara district when 
insurgents attacked a police checkpoint, killing three police officers, said 
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.

   Both Afghan officials said the Taliban had carried out the attacks, although 
no one immediately claimed responsibility.

   The Taliban on Saturday claimed an attack a day earlier that killed 10 
policemen in the southern Zabul province. Afghan government officials said the 
Taliban ambushed an Afghan police convoy on Friday after setting off a roadside 
bomb.

   U.S. forces had carried out two sets of airstrikes Friday against the 
Taliban in western and southern Afghanistan. These were the first U.S. strikes 
following a brief cease-fire declared by the insurgents for a major Muslim 
holiday last month.

   Since the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement at the end of February, 
U.S. forces have only once before announced a strike against the Taliban, in 
defense of Afghan forces.

   The uptick in fighting comes as U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad embarked 
on a new round of diplomatic trips to Qatar, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 
according to a U.S. State Department statement Friday.

   The U.S.-Taliban agreement was signed to allow American soldiers to return 
home, ending America's longest military engagement.

   The deal also calls for Afghans in Kabul and the Taliban to start 
negotiations to decide the country's future. Those negotiations have been 
delayed because of political feuding between Afghanistan's President Ashraf 
Ghani and his rival in last year's presidential polls, Abdullah Abdullah.

 
 
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