Taliban seize control of Afghan police base
The Taliban took control of a large police base in a remote part of northeastern Afghanistan after 100 police and border guards joined the insurgents following three days of fighting, security officials said.
The loss of the Tirgaran base in Badakhshan province marked the largest mass surrender since US and Nato forces concluded their combat mission at the end of last year. It highlighted the challenges facing Afghan security forces, which have seen their casualties soar in the face of stepped-up insurgent attacks.
The police base, in the province's Wardoj district, had been cut off as heavy rains destroyed roads into the area, said General Baba Jan, Badakhshan province's police chief. It was not clear why reinforcements had not been flown into the area, though the province's steep valleys often make aircraft landings difficult.
"No reinforcements were sent to help the police at the base for the past three days when they were under the attack and finally they had no option: They had to join the Taliban," said Abdullah Naji Nazari, the head of Badakhshan's provincial council.
Jan said the local police commander also joined the Taliban and handed over the base's weapons and ammunition.
The Taliban issued a statement saying they captured the base along with 110 police officers, their local commander and the head of the local border police.
Last month hundreds of insurgents attacked security checkpoints in the province's Yamgan district, forcing police to abandon them.