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Taliban kill 10 policemen, destroy new checkpoints

Reuters KABUL (Reuters) — At least 10 policemen were killed in clashes with Taliban fighters in the central Afghan province of Wardak, officials said Sunday, amid fighting to wrest control of arterial highways a day after Taliban fighters blew up bridges.

The Taliban set fire to a government building in Wardak’s Sayeed Abad district and killed the district police chief along with nine other policemen on Saturday night, a senior police official said.

Repeated assaults on strategically important provinces, such as Wardak and nearby Ghazni, have been a show of strength for the Taliban, underscoring how volatile security remains in Afghanistan two weeks before nationwide parliamentary elections.

Abdul Rahman Mangal, a spokesman for the Wardak governor’s office, said the Taliban raided some civilian houses after killing 10 policemen, destroyed newly built checkpoints and cut power to some parts of the city.

Government forces counterattacked to stop the insurgents from approaching the city, Mangal said.

A statement from the Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the insurgents had taken the center of Sayeed Abad and all surrounding security checkpoints, killing numerous members of the security forces and seizing weapons, ammunition and vehicles.

Mohammad Arif Noori, a spokesman for Ghazni’s governor, said one soldier was killed by Taliban fighters as they tried to gain control over parts of the province nearly two months after being pushed back from the city by U.S.-backed Afghan forces.Speech

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