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16 Afghan Police Killed at 2 Checkpoints

VOA News 14 December 2009

Afghan officials say gunmen have killed 16 Afghan policemen in two attacks on checkpoints in the country's north and south.

The Afghan Interior ministry says an attack at a checkpoint in southern Helmand province Monday killed eight policemen.

The ministry says attackers killed another eight policemen during an assault on a major highway in northeastern Baghlan province.

Authorities said police killed at least one militant during the attack and blamed the assault on Hezb-i-Islami, an Islamist group that is allied to the Taliban.

Attacks on police in Baghlan are rare. The militant strike was the deadliest for the police force in Baghlan since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

The Pentagon's top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, arrived in Kabul Monday, just days ahead of the first of the 30,000 reinforcements U.S. President Barack Obama has slated for Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, NATO says Afghan and international security forces detained a weapons facilitator and a small group of other militants in Khost province. Troops in Kandahar province also detained a weapons facilitator and other suspected militants.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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