KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents killed nine Afghan police and wounded nine more in separate attacks in the south and southeast of the country in the space of 24 hours, provincial officials said on Sunday.
Three policemen were killed and three wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Kunar on Sunday, said provincial governor Shalizi Deedar.
Taliban insurgents killed two policemen and wounded three in an attack on a police post in the Chapa Dara district in another part of Kunar, provincial spokesman Shah Wasi Mangal said.
Taliban militants fighting the Afghan government and foreign forces claimed responsibility for both attacks.
“We killed seven Afghan police and overran three police check points in the Chapa Dara district of Kunar province on Sunday morning,” said Taliban spokesman Zabuillah Mujaheed.
Separately, four Afghan policemen were killed and three wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade hit their vehicle in the southern province of Logar late on Saturday, said provincial governor Abdullah Wardak.
Afghan forces captured two Taliban leaders in the Bermel district of the eastern province of Paktika in an early morning operation, the U.S. military said in a statement.
It said the captured leaders were responsible for planting and transporting roadside bombs. The statement said the pair also had connections with other senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Paktika and neighboring Pakistan.
Afghan officials have repeatedly accused Pakistan harboring and supporting Taliban rebels, a charge Pakistan strongly denies.
Afghanistan has seen a rise Taliban suicide attacks, roadside bombs and attacks in recent months. More than 6,500 people have been killed in the past 18 months, the bloodiest period since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001.