August 17, 2008 / 12:58 PM / 11 years ago

Afghan army kills 28 Taliban in clash: officials

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan soldiers killed 28 Taliban in a clash on Sunday after the guerrillas ambushed a convoy carrying supplies for foreign troops in the southern province of Zabul, government officials said.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan since 2006 when the ousted Taliban relaunched their insurgency to topple the government and drive out foreign troops backing it.

Sunday’s encounter occurred in Shah Joy district, on the main highway linking Kabul with southern and western regions, said Defence Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimi.

“After several hours of fighting, 28 Taliban have been killed,” he said.

Zabul’s deputy governor, Gulab Shah Alikhail, said five men guarding the convoy were killed in the ambush and eight wounded.

Taliban spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

The Taliban, ousted from power in 2001, have stepped up their raids, backed by suicide attacks and roadside bombs, and extended the depth and extent of their guerrilla war in recent months.

On Saturday, 10 policemen were killed by a roadside bomb in neighboring Kandahar province, a senior police officer said, in one of the deadliest recent attacks on the police.

About 15,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan since 2006.

The violence comes despite the presence of increasing number of foreign troops now standing at more than 71,000 and more than 140,000 members of Afghan security forces.

Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Robert Birsel

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