KUNDUZ: At least 19 Afghan police officers were killed Saturday in a pre-dawn raid by the Taliban on a base in the northern province of Kunduz, officials said, hours before the militants announced an unprecedented ceasefire starting next week.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the insurgents stormed a military base in the western province of Herat, killing 17 Afghan soldiers.
Kunduz provincial governor spokesperson Nehmatullah Taimuri said five members of the local police force were also wounded in Saturday's attack on a police base in Qal-e-Zal district.
Afghan Taliban raise hopes with first-of-its-kind Eid ceasefire
Provincial police spokesperson Enhamuddin Rahmani confirmed the death toll and said eight Taliban fighters were also killed.
Both attacks came hours before the Taliban announced a ceasefire with Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that caps Ramazan and which is due to begin at the end of next week.
That unexpected move came two days after the Afghan government's own surprise announcement of an apparently unilateral week-long halt to operations against the Taliban.
It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr", President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating the ceasefire could run from June 12-19.