At least 30 Afghan soldiers went missing in the southeastern Ghazni city after Taliban insurgents attacked a national army outpost overnight, media said Saturday.
The Tolo news channel cited a source in the city as saying that all the missing had been manning the outpost when it came under fire. Hours of heavy clashes ended on Saturday morning.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said on Twitter that militants attacked a large garrison and a checkpoint in the Arzoo area of Ghazni province, capturing 20 people, hardware and ammunition.
Violence went up in Afghanistan ahead of May 21 withdrawal of US and allied troops from the country. Tolo News estimates that 226 Afghan civilians and military personnel have been killed in Taliban attacks in 24 provinces since April 14.
Earlier, the so-called extended Troika on peaceful settlement in Afghanistan – the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan – in a joint statement had expressed hope that the Taliban will prevent terrorist groups from using Afghan territory to threaten the security of other countries.
The extended Troika had met in Doha, Qatar, with representatives from the Afghan government and the opposition Taliban movement to support peace negotiations and help the parties reach a settlement.
“We expect the Taliban to fulfill its counterterrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising,” the statement said.