Taliban claims attack that killed at least 17 Afghan police officers

The Taliban has been targeting police checkpoints across Afghanistan since launching an offensive in April

An overnight attack on a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan killed at least 17 members of the national police, officials said Saturday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which began late Friday in Helmand province’s Musa Qala district, long a stronghold of the insurgents.

“Antigovernment forces” converged on the checkpoint, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor, with dozens of fighters participating in an assault that lasted until early Saturday.

Zwak said two police officers were also wounded. An Afghan official quoted by the Associated Press in an early report said at least 20 police officers died and the Taliban claimed that 21 died.

Musa Qala, in northeast Helmand, has been the site of some of the fiercest fighting of the Afghan conflict between the Taliban and NATO forces, primarily U.S. Marines and British soldiers.

The Afghan National Security Forces recorded more than 2,300 dead and 4,500 injured in the first five months of the year, according to figures released by NATO.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

3:42 p.m.: This article has been updated with the Taliban's claim of responsibility.

9:07 a.m., June 6: This article has been updated to include new information.

This article was originally published at 11:51 p.m., June 5.

 

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