Taliban attack Afghan army base, killing 17 soldiers

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban have attacked an army base in western Afghanistan, killing 17 Afghan soldiers and abducting 11 others, officials said Sunday.

Ghausuddin Noorzai, the district chief in Pusht Rod, said another four soldiers were wounded in the attack, which began late Saturday and continued into Sunday morning. He said the Taliban also overran two checkpoints near the base, seizing weapons and ammunition.

Abdul Samad Salehi, a member of the provincial council in Farah, confirmed the death toll and said the troops defending the base received no air support or reinforcements.

The Taliban claimed the attack, the latest in their near-daily assaults on Afghan security forces. The Taliban have seized a number of districts across the country in recent years as Afghan forces have struggled to hold rural areas and defend against coordinated attacks.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a young girl was killed and three others were wounded in the crossfire of a battle between Afghan forces and the Taliban in the western Herat province, according to Gelani Farhad, the spokesman for provincial governor.

Farhad said the main highway between the southern province of Kandahar and Herat was blocked for several hours.

The death toll from an attack on an election rally on Saturday in the northern Takhar province meanwhile climbed from 14 to 22, according to Jawad Hajri, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

He said another 36 people were wounded in the attack, in which a motorbike loaded with explosives exploded near the rally for Nazefa Yusoufi Beg, a female candidate running for parliament in the Oct. 20 elections.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban are active in the province and have claimed pervious attacks there.

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