Taliban moves toward more moderate posture, beheads only some of 18 killed

Taliban attack kills 18 Afghan soldiers; some beheaded

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban fighters swarmed over Afghan army posts in the country’s northeast, killing at least 18 soldiers and beheading some in a major attack to mark the start of the country’s summer fighting season, authorities said Monday.

The assault marks a grim first summer battle for Afghan forces, now fighting largely alone after the U.S. and NATO ended their combat mission in the country at the start of this year. The attack in Badakhshan’s Jurm district happened Friday, though officials only offered details about it days later as they pledged to investigate the apparent rout.