Kabul: Officials said that due to continued violence and fighting in the country, at least 12 Afghan policemen were killed on Sunday, including 7 policemen who were ambushed by the Taliban south of the capital.
General Scott Miller, the top commander of the US military in Afghanistan, said that the two attacks in Logar and Kandahar provinces started with the order of President Joe Biden this month to withdraw the remaining US troops.
“Seven policemen were killed and three wounded when the Taliban ambushed their vehicles in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province,” Dedar Lawang, spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.
The policemen were part of a security force guarding copper mines in Logar, south of the capital Kabul.
Police from Logar province confirmed the attack.
Afghanistan, whose economy has been severely impacted by decades of conflict and endemic corruption, has reserves of copper, iron, cobalt and lithium.
In a separate attack on Sunday, a suicide bomber ran an explosives-laden car into a police vehicle in the southern Taliban bastion of Kandahar, killing five policemen.
The attack took place in the restive Maiwand district of Kandahar and lef another four policemen wounded, police said.
Fighting continues in several rural provinces.
The Ministry of the Interior said earlier on Sunday that the Taliban had carried out 6 suicide attacks and 62 bomb attacks in the past 10 days, killing more than 60 civilians and injuring 180 others.
General Miller, the commander of the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said that they have begun to hand over the remaining bases to the Afghan forces and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
“As we retrograde to zero US forces, we will turn over the bases primarily to the ministry of defence and other Afghan forces,” Miller told reporters in Kabul, without naming the bases.
“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde. Officially, the notification date will be the first of May. But at the same time, as we start taking local actions, we ve already begun that.”
Miller said the military would also hand over all equipment that it does need to take back home.
“We re looking to ensure that the Afghan security forces have the bases, pieces of equipment, parts that are necessary for the functioning of the military,” he said.
Earlier this month, Biden announced that all remaining U.S. troops would withdraw on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attack, thus ending the longest war in the United States.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump reached an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops, and the withdrawal was delayed for about five months.
Ten years ago, the United States had about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. The number of troops at the end of Trump’s presidency has dropped to 2,500.