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Afghan Taliban kill 11 police officers in Helmand province attack

By
Andrew V. Pestano
An Afghan security official checks people at the checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. At least 11 policemen were killed by the Taliban in an attack. Photo by Watan Yar/EPA
An Afghan security official checks people at the checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday. At least 11 policemen were killed by the Taliban in an attack. Photo by Watan Yar/EPA

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Taliban have taken credit for an attack at a security checkpoint in the capital city of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province where at least 11 police officers were killed by gunmen.

The Taliban militants, using firearms and grenades, seized police weapons and ammunition during the attack on Tuesday. The militant Islamist group told Al Jazeera it was responsible for the attack, saying its gunmen killed 11 police officers and "claimed the area and weapons." A local doctor confirmed the death toll.

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BBC News reported a police source said a Taliban militant infiltrated Afghan security and allowed other militants into the checkpoint. The source said the infiltrator fled after the attack.

Other reports said the infiltrator killed the police officers himself. The city of Lashkar Gah is seen as a strategically important key to holding the Helmand province. It has a population of about 200,000 people.

The Taliban have increased attacks in Helmand, which is one of the country's most dangerous provinces. In August, an improvised explosive device killed a U.S. service member on patrol in Lashkar Gah.

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