12 policemen among 20 killed in Afghan violence (Lead)

May 18th, 2009 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, May 17 (DPA) A dozen policemen and an army soldier were killed in separate Taliban attacks in Afghanistan Sunday, while Afghan and international forces killed seven militants in operations, officials said.
Taliban militants attacked a police post in Nahre Saraj district of southern Helmand province Sunday morning, killing six police officers, the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement.

Confirming the incident, Abdul Qafoor Khan, a police officer in the province, said that reinforcements were sent to the area to track down the attackers. He said their forces arrested one suspected militant during the ongoing operation.

Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousif Ahmadi, claimed by phone from an undisclosed location that their fighters killed seven policemen during the early morning attack and withdrew from the area after seizing weapons and torching the police post.

Five other policemen were killed when their post was attacked by militants riding on motorbikes in the Khashrod district of western Nimruz province, Gholum Dastagir Azad, the provincial police chief said.

Two other police officers were wounded in the shootout, he said, adding that police units were deployed from the neighbouring district to the area to track down the fleeing militants.

Another policeman was killed and his comrade was wounded when a rocket fired by Taliban militants hit their station in the Mana district of southeastern Paktika province Sunday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Separately, a roadside bomb hit an Afghan army vehicle in Zafarkhel area of southern Zabul province Sunday morning when the soldiers were patrolling in the area, the defence ministry said in a statement.

“One army soldier was martyred and three others were wounded in this attack,” it said.

The poorly trained and equipped Afghan police forces have borne the brunt of Taliban-led attacks in Afghanistan in the past seven years. More than 2,000 police personnel were killed in 2007-08 in the country. Compared to police, the Afghan National Army, which is currently 86,000-strong, is much better equipped and trained.

In another incident in southern Uruzgan province, Afghan police backed by coalition troops killed six suspected militants, including a foreign fighter, Saturday, the interior ministry said in a separate statement.

The militants were killed during a six-hour-battle in Deh Rawood district of the province, it said, adding that there were no casualties among the joint forces.

The defence ministry said its forces killed one Taliban militant and captured another in the same restive southern region Sunday.

Three rockets were fired into Kabul overnight but caused no casualties, an interior ministry statement said, adding that one of the rockets hit an oil tanker. The tanker was destroyed after it burst into flames but no one was hurt.

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