KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Taliban militants attacked police checkpoints and a village in central Afghanistan over three days, and the fighting left 25 people dead, including tribal elders who were taken hostage, a provincial governor said Friday.
The violence started Wednesday when insurgents attacked a police checkpoint in Uruzgan province’s Tirin Kot district. The ensuing hour-long shootout left seven rebels dead, provincial Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan said.
On Thursday, the militants assaulted the nearby village of Saiban and kidnapped nine tribal elders and a 10-year-old boy, he said.
The tribal elders were executed, and the boy was sent to the authorities with a message: If police hand over the bodies of the seven slain rebels, the insurgents will release the bodies of the nine, he told The Associated Press.
The police did not respond to that offer.
On Friday, rebels attacked another police post nearby, and four officers and five insurgents were killed, Khan said.
The government has ordered its security forces to hunt down the rebels, he said.
The killings follow three months of unprecedented fighting that has killed about 477 suspected insurgents, 47 Afghan police and soldiers, 134 civilians, and 45 U.S. troops, including 16 troops killed in a helicopter crash earlier this week.
A small team of U.S. soldiers was missing Friday in the same eastern mountains where the special forces helicopter was shot down.