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    Taliban kill nine police in checkpoint assault

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    Ghazni: Nine Afghan policemen were killed when Taliban fighters stormed their checkpoints and launched a follow-up ambush in the eastern Afghanistan city of Ghazni, officials said Saturday.

    The assault began early Friday when the Taliban attacked two adjacent checkpoints, Ghazni police spokesman Ahmad Khan Seerat told AFP.

    The Taliban then ambushed a group of police rushing to the scene, killing the head of the local police, Seerat added.

    In all, nine officers were killed and six were wounded, he said.

    The toll was confirmed by Arif Noori, spokesman for the Ghazni governor.

    In August, Taliban fighters briefly held the city of Ghazni before they were pushed out by US air strikes and Afghan forces.

    Friday's attack highlights the ongoing fragility of Afghanistan's security and the risks faced by local security forces as they man vulnerable checkpoints.

    President Ashraf Ghani in January said 45,000 security forces have been killed since he took office in September 2014.

    On its Twitter account, the Taliban claimed to have killed 12 "soldiers," though the group frequently exaggerates numbers.

    Meanwhile in Zabul in southern Afghanistan late Friday, Gul Islam Seyal, spokesman for the local governor, told AFP that four police were killed and two wounded after a "Taliban infiltrator" opened fire at a checkpoint.

    The attacks come as the United States seeks to broker a peace accord with the Taliban and the Kabul government, more than 17 years since the US-led invasion that ousted the Islamist fighters.  

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