New local police chief among victims of attack on convoy in Farah province
At least 20 Afghan policemen killed in Taliban ambush
The Taliban ambushed a police convoy in western Afghanistan killing at least 20 officers, officials said on Monday.
The attack took place on Sunday afternoon in western Farah province, according to Dadullah Qaneh, a member of the provincial council. Four policemen, including the deputy provincial police chief, were wounded in the attack near Lash wa Juwayn district.
The convoy was on its way to the district to introduce newly appointed district police chief when it came under attack, said another council member, Abdul Samad Salehi. The newly appointed chief was also killed, said Mr Qaneh.
The Taliban, who in recent years have taken over almost half of Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in its near-daily assaults on military and security forces throughout the country.
The Taliban view the US-backed government in Kabul as a western puppet and have refused repeated offers to negotiate with it, although members of its political office in Qatar have held talks recently with US representatives.
Meanwhile, demonstrators from the Shiite minority blocked all roads in the western section of Kabul for a second day on Monday to protest against the arrest of a militia commander
They demanded the release of Alipoor, who leads a Shiite militia in the western Ghor province and who goes by one name. Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, the country's main intelligence agency, said on Monday that Alipoor was arrested for "harassment of people, illegal activities and imprisoning security forces", the TOLOnews channel reported.
Hundreds of protesters clashed with police during the protest on Sunday. Three policemen were shot and wounded and another 20 were hit by stones thrown by the protesters, who set fire to two police checkpoints.
"I can hear sporadic sound of shooting from the area," said Nasrullah Sadeqizada, a member of parliament who lives near the district, said on Monday.
Mahobullah, a resident of the area, said there were hundreds of protesters carrying posters of Alipoor, shouting: "Alipoor is innocent" and demanding that the commander be set free.
During a previous attempt to arrest Alipoor, in June, security forces in Ghor clashed with his followers, leading to the deaths of seven civilians and four policemen.