Afghanistan: At least 14 security forces killed in three attacks

President Ghani urged the Taliban to lay down its arms and commence the proposed intra-Afghan peace talks.

At least 14 security forces have been killed in three attacks across Afghanistan, as violence keeps the country in its grasp and the start of the peace talks remains delayed.

At least nine security forces were killed and one wounded when the Taliban attacked a checkpoint in the northern Takhar province on Saturday, the police chief spokesman for the province said.

Taliban attacks in the northeastern province of Badakhshan also left four security forces dead, that province’s spokesman said.

Three magnetic bomb explosions in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killed one and wounded at least four people, including a civilian, the city’s police spokesman said.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack in Kabul which has recently seen a surge in sticky bomb explosions, which were regularly being attached to security forces’ vehicles.

On Friday, the Afghan National Army (ANA) said in a statement at least 114 Taliban fighters were killed in air and ground offensives in the past 24 hours.

A delay in the prisoners’ release programme has delayed the start of highly expected intra-Afghan peace talks.

The Taliban repeatedly said it will not enter into peace talks with the government until the remaining Taliban prisoners are freed.

Kabul has released 80 of a remaining group of 400 Taliban prisoners after securing the approval of a traditional grand assembly on August 9.

Following the initial release, Australia and France officially asked Kabul not to let out Taliban prisoners convicted of killing their citizens.

Afghan authorities say diplomatic efforts are under way to agree to a compromise with both nations.

The government has already released 4,680 Taliban prisoners, while the armed group says it has kept its side of the deal with the United States by releasing 1,000 pro-government prisoners.

On Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urged the Taliban to lay down its arms and commence the proposed intra-Afghan peace talks.