Afghanistan militants kill 18 police in Badakhshan

The police were in Wardooj district and
on their way back to the provincial
capital after an anti-insurgent operation
when they came under attack.
Although the mountainous north-east is
relatively peaceful, Wardooj district has
become increasingly volatile.
The Taliban said that they had carried
out the attack.
In a statement they said that they had
taken weapons and vehicles in the
attack, and had handed over some of the
bodies to tribal elders.
The statement also said 47 insurgents
had been killed in police operations in
the same region this week.
The interior ministry has ordered an
investigation into the death of the police
officers.
Difficult terrain
In March, 16 soldiers were killed in a
Taliban ambush in Wardooj district, while
in August 2010, British doctor Karen
Woo was killed in an ambush in
Badakhshan province, along with six
Americans, one German and two Afghan
translators.
Badakhshan is situated in the Pamir and
Hindu Kush mountain ranges.
The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says the
area's difficult terrain offers perfect
cover for insurgents.
Foreign combat forces are set to
withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014 and
many fear this could see the Taliban and
their supporters gaining strength.
Nato troops have gradually been handing
over responsibility for security to their
Afghan counterparts, who now lead
about 90% of all security operations.