Afghan Taliban kill 4 police in checkpoint attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban insurgents attacked two checkpoints in eastern Afghanistan, killing four police officers in the latest test of Afghan forces’ abilities as their NATO mentors withdraw.

Mohammad Zahir Bahand, spokesman for Nuristan province, said Sunday that the fighting in Kamdesh district began overnight with attacks on checkpoints manned by national police and border police. The firefight, which left 13 militants dead, lasted hours and ended after reinforcements from the provincial capital, Paron, drove the Taliban away.

He said four police were also wounded. Insurgents have been attacking government installations around the country, testing Afghan forces who are now fighting almost completely on their own. The U.S.-led military coalition ends its mission next year, 12 years after leading an invasion to oust the Taliban from power over its sheltering of al-Qaida’s leadership in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

The Taliban have littered many of the country’s roads with improvised bombs that often kill civilians instead of security forces.

An explosion from a roadside bomb Saturday night killed four civilians, including a child, when their vehicle was hit in Uruzgan province, a statement from the provincial governor said. Nine other civilians were wounded.

President Hamid Karzai issued a statement Sunday condemning the deaths and accusing the fundamentalist Muslim Taliban of being un-Islamic by using indiscriminate weapons that harm civilians.

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