An Afghan official says a devastating Taliban attack over the weekend on an army outpost in southern Helmand province killed 26 soldiers and seven policemen casualties the country's defense ministry has refused to disclose.
Provincial council chief Attahullah Afghan told The Associated Press on Monday that the attack took place in Sangin district on Friday and that it also left 31 soldiers wounded.
The Taliban claimed the attack a day later, on Saturday. There was no government statement on the attack.
Afghan military spokesman Nawab Shah said government jets aided the besieged troops and eventually sent reinforcements to Helmand, an old Taliban heartland. He refused to discuss casualties.
The insurgents stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, inflicting staggering casualties, even as they hold peace talks with the United States.