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Police chief killed in south Afghan clash-officials
(For full coverage of Afghanistan, click on [ID:nSP508289]) (Adds reports of more gunfire, details, paragraphs 6-7)
KABUL, June 29 (Reuters) - The police chief for Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold, and eight other officers were killed in a clash with U.S.-trained Afghan special forces on Monday, senior provincial officials said.
The clash erupted after the soldiers entered the prosector's office in Kandahar city and forcibly removed an unidentified prisoner, said Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the Kandahar provincial council and a brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
A gunfight erupted with police when the soldiers left the prosecutor's office, he said.
"The police chief for Kandahar, the head of the city's criminal department and seven other police were killed in the clash," Wali Karzai told Reuters by telephone from Kandahar.
A senior provincial lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, also confirmed the clash and casualties.
The lawmaker said exchanges of gunfire between police and the soldiers had broken out in several other parts of the city.
Interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said police had brought the clashes under control. He told local television the prisoner had been due to appear on criminal charges on Monday but gave no other details.
There was no indication of any casualties among the soldiers.
Foreign troops were not involved but a spokesman for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said they were looking into the incident.
NATO forces, boosted by an influx of thousands more U.S. troops, will soon step up operations in the Taliban strongholds of Kandahar and neighbouring Helmand province, senior U.S. and NATO officials have said.
Senior U.S. military commanders have said violence in Afghanistan has reached its highest level since the Taliban were ousted after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
(Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Paul Tait)
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