Taliban fighters launched several coordinated attacks against Afghanistan checkpoints, killing more than three dozen people, officials said Friday.
The violence spread across four Afghan provinces, from the west near Farah to the northern Samangan province.
The hours-long night-time gun battles killed 29 police officers and Afghan national army soldiers in Farah province alone. At least 37 deaths were reported.
Friday’s attacks continued what’s been a particularly bloody month in Afghanistan.
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A suicide bomber killed 68 people who were protesting in the Momandara district on Tuesday. An attack in Safiullah earlier this month killed 14 and an August assault on Ghazni killed and injured 150.
The show of force by the Taliban preceded peace talks set to start between the Taliban and the United States. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a surprise visit to Afghanistan last week as a prelude to negotiations.
The war in Afghanistan has gone on for more than 17 years and is the longest-running war in U.S. history.
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Pompeo has named veteran diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as a special envoy to Afghanistan, and said he’s focused on “developing the opportunities to get the Afghans and the Taliban to come to a reconciliation.”