Taliban ‘kill 16 security personnel’ in Afghanistan

Songaryans -- local armed force formed by Afghan spy agency to infiltrate Taliban -- itself becomes victim of infiltration

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - At least three suspected Taliban infiltrators killed up to 16 Afghan security personnel in southern Helmand province Saturday, officials and local media reported on Sunday.

Umar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial administration in Helmand, told Anadolu Agency security personnel associated with the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s spy agency, engaged with Taliban attackers and infiltrators in the Grishk district.

Both sides sustained casualties during the clashes, the spokesman said as he declined to share any further details.

According to Ashna Radio, Songaryans -- a local armed force formed by the NDS to infiltrate and target the Taliban in Helmand -- itself became a victim of Taliban infiltration.

Taliban spokesman Qari Zabehullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for the attack and said three infiltrators were involved in the attack “inside military center close to Turabi Hotel area of Greshk Helmand.”

Lying south to the Taliban’s birthplace Kandahar, Helmand remains one of the most volatile provinces in Afghanistan with militants controlling large swaths of land.

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