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Afghan official downplays casualties of special forces

Discarding reports about killing of over 30 soldiers, Defense Ministry confirms loss of 10 personnel in Badghes province

Shadi Khan Saif   | 18.07.2019
Afghan official downplays casualties of special forces

KABUL, Afghanistan

The Afghan Defense Ministry on Thursday rejected media reports claiming 30 personnel of the country’s elite forces were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Badghes province.

Ruhullah Ahmadzai, the ministry spokesman, told Anadolu Agency that 10 members of the Special Forces of the Afghan National Army's Commando Corps were killed in the Ab Qamari area, eight are missing and 12 more managed to escape the Taliban ambush late on Tuesday.

Ahmadzai said a clean-up operation has been launched in the district dominated by the Taliban.

He added 30 Taliban insurgents were killed and more than 30 wounded in the operation.

Earlier, some media reports and Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi claimed that the insurgents killed more than 30 members of the Special Forces and captured 12 more alive.

There has been no independent verification of the claim. If true, this could be a devastating blow to the Afghan forces battling the resilient insurgency amid fast-track peace talks.

Separately, the local Salam Afghanistan radio quoted local officials claiming lack of coordination among the officials caused casualties in Badghes.

The provincial assembly member Fared Akhezi was quoted as saying by the radio the Special Forces were deployed in this restive area without prior coordination with the local officials.

With an estimated strength of over 20,000, the Afghan National Army Commando Corps is an elite commando force of the country.

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