Attack on Afghan checkpoint kills 10 forces personnel

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is escorted into the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul Afghanistan on Tuesday. — Reuters

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is escorted into the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul Afghanistan on Tuesday. — Reuters

At least 10 security personnel were killed in an insurgent attack at a checkpoint in Afghanistan's Farah province on Wednesday, AP reported.

Taliban fighters on Monday briefly took control of the administrative building of Farah's Anar Dara district, killing eight police, before they were beaten back by security forces, officials said.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a suicide truck bomb struck a checkpoint in the southern Helmand province, killing at least two border police, according to Gen. Abdul Ghafar Safi, the police chief of the province, which borders Pakistan.

Meanwhile, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the main objective of mounting military pressure against the Taliban on the battlefields is to put pressure on the group to endorse a political settlement to the conflict.

Another provincial council member, Abdul Samad Salehi, said that four of those killed were from the intelligence service and six were police officers.

Mattis, a retired Marine general who commanded United States troops in southern Afghanistan in the opening weeks of the war in 2001, said getting the Taliban to reconcile en masse may be "a bridge too far". He said another three police were wounded in the blast.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a surprise visit to Afghanistan's capital Tuesday with an interest in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.

Trump has made no secret of anger toward Pakistan or his pessimism about Taliban peace talks, declaring on January 29 after a series of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan: "I don't see any talking taking place". "That may be a bridge too far to expect", Mattis said.

Earlier, officials said that Kabul was deploying more troops to Farah to counter the frequent Taliban attacks and protect a planned multi-billion-dollar pipeline.

The Taliban 's silence has provoked repeated calls for a direct response to Ghani's proposal made at an global conference in Kabul on February 28.

But security experts say the proposal has placed the Taliban , Afghanistan's largest militant group, in a bind.

Casualties of the Afghan security forces have risen since the beginning of 2015 when Afghan soldiers and police assumed full responsibilities of security from the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops.

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