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Several Afghan Police Killed In Taliban Attack On Checkpoint In Helmand Province

Afghan soldiers sit on an armored vehicles during a battle with the Taliban militants in Helmand's Gereshk district on July 22.

Several police officers were killed and injured in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, officials said on July 29.

The details and casualty toll from the July 28 attack remain unclear, with reports indicating anywhere from two to 25 police officers being killed.

Attaullah Afghan, a member of the Helmand provincial council, said the attack took place in the district of Nawa, killing 12 officers and wounding 12 others.

Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand Province, confirmed the attack but said only two police were killed while 10 others were wounded.

Tolo News cited local sources as saying 10 police officers were killed at the checkpoint in Samad Square in Nawa district.

The Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their fighters had killed 25 local and national police.

Officials said Taliban fighters briefly took over the checkpoint but that it was retaken by Afghan security forces early on July 29.

The attack follows a July 26 Taliban-linked raid on a military base in which Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said 26 soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in the southern province of Kandahar.

The Taliban, former rulers of Afghanistan, were driven from power after a U.S.-led invasion following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

But since the U.S.-led coalition ended active combat operations in 2014, the militants have ramped up attacks on military bases across the country, challenging the thinly stretched domestic security forces.

The United States currently has about 8,400 troops in the country to help train Afghan forces, down from about 100,000 during the peak of its Afghan mission.

U.S. media have reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will recommend sending another 3,000-5,000 troops to break what he has called a "stalemate" between government forces and the Taliban.

With reporting by dpa, AP, Tolo News, and Geo News

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