Kabul: Afghan officials say the Taliban have attacked a small army base, killing 12 members of the security forces and leaving behind explosives that killed four tribal elders who had come to help collect the bodies.

Safder Mohsini, head of the provincial council in the northern Baghlan province, says the insurgents abducted two soldiers and wounded three others in the attack, which began late Saturday. He says the militants burned down the base before planting bombs around it.

The Taliban claimed the attack and said they seized ammunition from the base.

The Taliban carry out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting Afghan security forces at rural outposts. Seventeen years after the US-led invasion, the insurgents control nearly half the country.

India on Friday engaged in peace talks with the Afghan Taliban for the first time at a multilateral meeting in Moscow.

Former diplomats nominated by the Indian government shared the table with the Taliban in the first such public engagement since the IC-814 hijack in 1999.

India, however, said that its presence in the talks with the Taliban was not due to any "compulsion", according to a report in The Indian Express.

The Indian move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi last month for the annual bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With AP inputs