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At Least Five Police Killed, 30 People Kidnapped In Southern Afghanistan

Afghan policemen march during a graduation ceremony earlier this month.

Afghan officials say at least five police officers have been killed and 30 other people abducted in two separate incidents in the south of the country.

Dost Mohammad Nayab, the spokesman for Oruzgan Province's governor, told RFE/RL that the incidents occurred on a highway linking Kandahar and Oruzgan provinces on February 27.

Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq confirmed the attack and abduction.

He said that a group of militants launched an assault on a police checkpoint, killing six officers and wounding five others.

Nayab put the death toll in the assault at five.

Kandahar police spokesman Ahmadzia Durani said that efforts were under way to secure the release of those kidnapped.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack or abduction, but Raziq blamed Taliban militants.

The incidents come as the Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

At a conference in Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani on February 28 proposed the recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group, as part of a process that could lead to peace negotiations and put an end to more than 16 years of fighting.

With reporting by AP and dpa