KABUL, Afghanistan - Major violence has spread, and escalated across Afghanistan.
Scores of national security forces and Taliban militants have been killed and wounded in a series of attacks across several provinces.
At least eight Afghan security forces members were killed and 2 others wounded in an attack by Taliban militants in the northern Baghlan province on Sunday, according to TOLO News which cited local and security forces contacts.
Sources told TOLO News, the Taliban attacked a security outpost on the Baghlan-Samangan highway in Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province.
"Two other security force members are missing, and two army vehicles were destroyed in the attack, the outpost has been destroyed and some bodies of the security forces remain there," sources told TOLO News.
Family members of security forces personnel or died in the attack were critical of the government, claiming it was negligent, when they arrived at Pul-e-Khumri hospital to collect their bodies. "No reinforcements or support have been provided to these security forces," one family member said.
"Three security forces members were killed in the clashes and the Taliban attack has been pushed back," TOLO News quoted Farid Sayedkheli, a military commander in Baghlan, had said earlier before the attack escalated.
"The Taliban has also suffered heavy casualties," Sayedkheli said.
Elsewhere, at least 8 Taliban militants were killed and seven wounded in Khawja-Ghar district of Takhar province by Afghan National Army forces on Sunday.
"Eight Taliban were killed and 7 others were wounded in Khawja-Ghar district of Takhar province by the Afghan National Army last night (Sunday)," Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense said in a tweet.
In another unrelated clash, Afghan Army forces killed twenty-five Taliban militants and wounded 8 others in a preemptive operation in Zheria and Arghandab districts of Kandahar province on Sunday.
The Army also discovered two hideouts and three strongholds along with a large amount of ammunition.
"25 Taliban were killed and eight others were wounded in a preemptive operation of ANA in Zheria and Arghandab districts of Kandahar province, yesterday. Additionally, 2 hideouts, three strongholds and a large amount of ammunition and weapons were destroyed," the ministry said in another tweet.
The latest outbreak of violence across war-torn Afghanistan follows an announcement on Friday by the United States that it had reduces its troop level to 2,500, the lowest level since it invaded the country in 2001.
"Today, U.S. force levels in Afghanistan have reached 2,500. Directed by President (Donald) Trump, and as I announced on November 17, this drawdown brings US forces in the country to their lowest levels since 2001", U.S. acting Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller said in a statement released on Friday.
"Today, the United States is closer than ever to ending nearly two decades of war and welcoming in an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace process to achieve a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire," he said.
"A force of 2,500, commanders have what they need to keep America, our people, and our interests safe" Miller added.
(File photo. Credit: Khaama Press Agency).