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Dozens die in wave of Taliban attacks in northern Afghanistan

Afghan security officials show a group of suspected Taliban militants allegedly accused of planning attacks on government on March 10. The Taliban was blamed for a wave of attacks across northern Afghanistan Sunday and Monday. Photo by Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA-EFE
Afghan security officials show a group of suspected Taliban militants allegedly accused of planning attacks on government on March 10. The Taliban was blamed for a wave of attacks across northern Afghanistan Sunday and Monday. Photo by Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA-EFE

July 13 (UPI) -- The Taliban led a wave of attacks Sunday and Monday through northern Afghanistan killing dozens of security force members in the latest sign of the breakdown in peace talks between the militant group that once ran the country and current government.

One attack on security checkpoints at the Imam Sahib district in Kunduz province left six police officers killed and nine others wounded. The fighting went from dusk Sunday to dawn Monday morning.

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Officials said the Taliban militants suffered casualties but the numbers were not known.

Security forces faced fire in the Badakhshan province's Arghanjkhwa district. Seven security force members were killed and two others wounded.

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"Seventy Taliban, Al-Qaeda and [Islamic State militants] including foreign fighters have attacked security checkpoints," Nik Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. "Five insurgents were also killed in the attack and several others were wounded in the clashes."

Nazari said the militants were eventually pushed back by the security forces.

In yet another attack, the Taliban waged a prolonged assault on an intelligence complex in Aybak Monday, killing 11 and wounding 60 more. Militants detonated a car bomb at the entrance of the National Directorate of Security, about 150 miles northwest of Kabul.

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The explosion also damaged a nearby municipal compound, giving insurgents a way into the complex where they fought Afghan security forces for hours, Sefatullah Samangani, the deputy governor of the province, said.

Afghanistan's president, Ashraf Ghani, said the Taliban's attacks are meant to gain an upper hand in stalled negotiations, calling them "criminal and inhumane."

"Turning to violence and killing people for leverage in negotiations is the worst approach that, unfortunately, the Taliban have taken up," Ghani said in a statement.

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