Dual attacks against Afghan regional police

An attack by gunmen in western Afghanistan has killed eight people, according to police officials in Farah province.

The attack late on Wednesday was carried out at an outpost of the government-sponsored Afghan Local Police force in the Khaki Safed district of the western province.

Shamsul Rahman Zahid, the provincial police chief, said that two members of the ALP were captured by the gunmen, who were armed with assault rifles.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack.

A district administrator said the attackers first strangled a guard posted outside before proceeding to open fire on those inside the compound itself. The attackers made off with the ALP weapons following the attack, said Abdul Khaliq Noorzai.

The target of the attack was the ALP commander at the checkpoint, who was previously a part of the Taliban but later turned against the fighters and joined security forces backed by the government of Hamid Karzai.

The attack took place on the same days that a suicide blast in the generally quiet northern province of Faryab left 10 Afghans, both civilian and police, and three international soldiers dead.

A senior US defence official told The Associated Press that the three soldiers killed were US troops.

Wednesday's attacks come amid fears of an increase in fighting as harsh Afghan winter conditions begin to thaw.

The Taliban are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power against the Afghan military, which international forces are hoping to take over security responsibility across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Badakhshan

Elsewhere in the country, a suicide bombing targeting the commander of an Afghan Local Police force in the north has killed two, including the commander, and left another 16 people wounded, according to police sources.

The blast took place in the remote Kishm district of northern Badakhshan province.