LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan Taliban fighters within the southern Afghan province of Helmand attacked a checkpoint with silenced weapons and hand grenades early on Tuesday killing 12 policemen and stealing weapons and ammunition, officers mentioned.
However a provincial official mentioned that it may very well be an insider assault as one of many guards was nonetheless lacking.
“An investigation is ongoing to search out out if somebody from inside has defected to the Taliban and paved the way in which for this crime,” he mentioned.
The assault, within the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, underlined the menace going through Afghan safety forces within the opium-producing province, the place they battle to match well-equipped Taliban fighters who now management a number of districts.
The police killed within the assault had been pulled again from the southern district of Khanshin district which safety forces deserted final 12 months.
“The Taliban attacked a guard with silenced weapons after which entered the verify publish,” Helmand deputy police chief Haji Gulai advised reporters.
“They attacked different policemen with hand grenades and killed all of them. They later took their weapons and ammunition and escaped.” he mentioned.
In a separate incident, one other 12 policemen have been killed within the Marjah district of Helmand after an hour-long gunbattle, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned.
Taliban fighters now management most of Helmand, together with areas in Lashkar Gah. British and U.S. forces suffered their heaviest casualties of the battle within the province in years of combating following the elimination of the Taliban in 2001.
Afghan safety forces now management lower than 60 p.c of the nation, in response to U.S. estimates, with the Taliban accountable for about 10 p.c and the rest contested between authorities and rebel forces.
(Reporting by Mohammad Stanekzai, extra reporting by Mirwais Harooni, writing by James Mackenzie; Enhancing by Michael Perry)