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April 18, 2014

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Taliban attack checkpoints; 1 Afghan police killed

Updated Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | 4:36 a.m.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban attacked three Afghan police checkpoints overnight in the southern province of Helmand, killing one officer before police repelled the attackers, officials said Friday.

At least 16 insurgent fighters were also killed in the three separate attacks and the ensuing gunbattles in Marjah district, according to local police chief Toryalai Zarak.

"We have captured a number of them with their weapons," Zarak said. "From our side, only one policeman was killed and three others were slightly wounded."

Taliban militants have been intensifying attacks on Afghan security forces seeking to destabilize the country ahead of a key presidential election in April and the pullout of most foreign coalition forces at the end of the year.

Afghanistan's 350,000-strong police and army have taken over almost all security responsibilities in Afghanistan and have suffered hundreds of casualties every month in battles, assassinations and bombings.