The Taliban have claimed responsibility for a targeted attack that killed 13 pro-government fighters in Afghanistan. The ambush occurred as the fighters were going to fight the insurgency. Afghanistan has struggled to reclaim stability in recent years and the Taliban is increasing resistance to the government in an effort to reclaim land and power that U.S.-led NATO troops helped take away. Increased chaos and Taliban strength does not have positive implications for the already persecuted Christian community.
07/03/2017 Afghanistan (Newsweek) – The Taliban have killed 13 pro-government fighters in northern Afghanistan, ambushing them as they were on their way to take part in an operation against the insurgency, officials said on Sunday.
The attack on the fighters, part of a local militia working with the government, took place Saturday afternoon in the volatile Chimtal district of northern Balkh province, some 40 kilometers from the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif. It underscored rising insecurity in the war-torn country as the resurgent Taliban step up their assaults, with government forces struggling to contain them.
“13 local militia forces have been shot dead by Taliban insurgents as they were heading for an operation against the militants in Chimtal,” Munir Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor of Balkh told AFP. “All of them were killed … They were young forces,” Farhad said, adding they were investigating the cause of the attack.
Sarwar Hussaini, police spokesman for northern Afghanistan confirmed the ambush and the death toll.
The Taliban, who have intensified their attacks on pro-government forces since launching their annual so-called “spring offensive,” claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.