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Taliban Kill at Least 9 Afghan Police, 14 Taken Hostage

RIA Novosti

16:29 03/04/2012 MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - At least nine Afghan police officers were killed and 14 others were taken hostage in two separate attacks by Taliban militants on police outposts in northern and southern Afghanistan in the early hours of Tuesday, local media reported.

At least three Afghan policemen were killed and 11 went missing when Taliban fighters attacked a police check post in Wardaj, in the northern Badakhshan province, reports quoted the provincial governor’s spokesman as saying.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed said in a statement on the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad website that 10 police officers had been killed in the attack.

In a separate overnight attack in the southern Helmand Province, six Afghan police officers were killed and three taken hostage, media reports said.

The attacks followed a Monday report by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen about “progress” made by coalition forces in fighting the Taliban insurgency. The coalition has recorded the longest sustained downward trend in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan since May last year, he said, adding that their number was 22 percent down in January and February if compared to the same period last year.

Rasmussen confirmed NATO’s plans to complete transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Afghan forces are currently spearheading 28 percent of special operations and 42 percent of other security operations in the country, he said, adding, however, that coalition forces "remain ready and able to conduct combat operations whenever and wherever needed."

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