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Afghan official: Taliban attacks kill 14 policemen in Ghazni

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Taliban launched a wave of attacks in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, killing at least 14 police officers, including a district police chief and a reserve unit's commander, Afghan officials said Tuesday.

    Provincial council member Hassan Reza Yusoufi said seven of the officers were killed in the district of Dih Yak, including Faizullah Toofan, the police chief, and reserve commander Haji Baraket. Another seven were killed in Jaghatu district.

    The attacks started on Monday night and continued on Tuesday in Dih Yak, Jaghatu, Ajristan and Qarabagh districts, according to Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor.

    Noori said at least 12 other members of the security forces were wounded in the attacks in Dih Yak and Jaghatu districts.

    Taliban fighters stormed several checkpoints in Dih Yak and Jaghatu, setting off intense battles there, said Latifa Akbari, the head of the provincial council in Ghazni.

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement to the media. He claimed the Jaghatu district headquarters was captured as well as several police checkpoints in Dih Yak.

    The Taliban also issued a statement warning residents of the capital, Kabul, to avoid military and intelligence centers as they planned to target those as part of their spring offensive.

    Since announcing their offensive last month, Taliban insurgents have stepped up attacks across the country against Afghan security forces and government officials. In the announcement, they said the offensive is aimed at crushing, killing and capturing American invaders and their supporters.

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