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Taliban kill 14 pro-government militia in Afghanistan - officials

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KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban militants killed at least 14 members of a pro-government militia in Afghanistan on Wednesday, said officials, as Taliban and U.S. officials near a deal aimed at ending the 18-year war.

Government officials said 14 members of the militia were killed and several civilians were wounded during clashes in the western province of Herat.

Abdul Ahad Walizada, a spokesman for Heart police, said the 14 men were killed in Rubat-e-Sangi district of Herat after a large number of Taliban fighters stormed security checkpoints in the Chahardara area.

“At least nine others are wounded in the clashes and the Taliban militants were pushed back after Afghan forces reinforced the area,” said Walizada.

Taliban officials were not immediately available for a comment.

U.S. and Taliban officials are said to be nearing an agreement, after months of negotiations, under which the United States would start to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban pledges not to allow the country to harbour other Islamic extremist groups.

(Reporting by Storay Karimi, Jalil Rezaee in Herat, Abdul Qadir Sediqi in Kabul; Editing by Michael Perry)

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