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Taliban kidnaps 27 police

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By The Washington Post
Thursday, May 22, 2014, 5:48 p.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban fighters kidnapped more than two dozen Afghan police officers during an assault in the northeastern corner of the country that left eight officers dead, officials said.

The attack in Badakhshan province's Yamgam district began Tuesday and continued for more than a day. The number of Taliban fighters involved remains unclear, but Asadullah, the police chief of neighboring Jurm district, said there were 250 to 300 insurgents.

“The police force, after fighting, had to retreat to a cave,” said Asadullah, who like many Afghans goes by one name. “They ran out of ammunition and food, and that is how the Taliban took 27 of them as captives.”

Because the district is so remote, it was impossible to provide additional Afghan military or police support during the fighting, officials said.

“The district headquarters has fallen to the Taliban after they launched an attack. Because of the bad weather, we could not sent reinforcements. We are ⅛now⅜ sending police to take the district center,” Sediq Seddiqi, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said a day after the attack. He added that at least eight police officers were killed in the fighting Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some Afghan officials said they were not yet ready to confirm the kidnapping.

“A number of police have disappeared,” said the province's deputy police chief, Abdul Qadir Sayad. “We do not know how many have been taken by the Taliban and how many have fled to their homes.”

It is not the first time the Taliban has targeted a remote unit of police officers or troops. In February, 21 Afghan soldiers were killed when insurgents overran their outpost in Konar province.

In September, a police unit in Badakhshan was attacked, leaving 18 officers dead.

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