Ambush claiming 18 lives in Afghanistan prompts inquiry

A panel has been formed to probe a deadly ambush that happened earlier this week in northeastern Afghanistan, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

Armed militants killed 18 Afghan National Police and injured 13 others in an ambush after the officers returned from a military operation, the ministry said. The incident occurred in the Wardoj district of Badakhshan province on Wednesday night.

Mohammad Omar Daudzai, the acting minister, condemned the attack.

Badakhshan, bordered by Tajikistan to the north and Pakistan to the south, is a sparsely populated region comprised of a majority Tajik population and an Uzbek and Kyrgyz minority. Badakhshan was the only province that was not controlled by the Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan.

Last week, in the country's western Herat province, a huge explosion rocked the area near the U.S. consulate during a gunfight between militants and security forces. Two police officers, a local security guard, and seven attackers were reported killed.