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12 police killed in fight with Taliban in eastern Afghan province

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, May 22, 2018 (BSS/Xinhua) - At least 12 police personnel, including two senior police officers, were killed in fresh clashes with Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province overnight, a local official said Tuesday.

"Hundreds of Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on Dih Yak and neighboring Jaghato districts Monday night, triggering heavy gunfights lasting for hours. The clashes left 12 policemen killed and 15 others injured," provincial government spokesman Harif Noori told Xinhua.

Those among the killed were Dih Yak Police Chief Faiz Mohammad and provincial reserved Police Chief Barakatullah Khan, he said.

Several militants were also killed and wounded during the gun battle, he said, adding that sporadic clashes were ongoing in the two districts as of Tuesday morning.

Earlier in the day, Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, claimed that Taliban fighters seized the full control of Jaghato and inflicted heavy casualties on security forces in Dih Yak.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been on the rampage since the beginning of 2015 when the Afghan security forces assumed full responsibilities of security from the United States and NATO troops.

The militants also intensified attacks against security forces and staged several large-scale attacks against Afghan cities and districts after they launched a yearly rebel offensive on April 25.

The province, 125 km south of Afghan capital of Kabul, has been the scene of heavy clashes over the past months.

On May 15, 10 security forces and 44 militants were killed in separate clashes in four districts of Ghazni.