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Taliban Raid Kills 20 Police Officers In Southern Afghanistan

At least 20 Afghan police officers were killed early on May 21 when Taliban fighters stormed several security outposts in the volatile southern province of Zabul, officials said.

"This morning, a group of Taliban fighters armed with heavy and light weapons launched coordinated attacks on several police checkpoints in Shah Joy district of Zabul Province, killing 20 police officers," said provincial Governor Bismillah Afghanmal.

A district official said that at least 15 others were wounded in the fighting.

Local officials called Afghan television stations to seek attention as they were unable to contact senior authorities for help, highlighting the disarray in the security ranks.

The coordinated attack comes just a month after the Taliban killed at least 135 security forces in northern Balkh Province in the deadliest insurgent attack on an Afghan military base.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on their website. The raid, the latest in a series of brazen Taliban assaults, underscores the insurgents' growing strength more than 15 years since they were ousted from power by the U.S.-led invasion of 2001.

Taliban militants launched their annual "spring offensive" in late April.

The offensive normally marks the start of the fighting season, though this winter the Taliban continued to battle government forces.

In a separate incident, in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, a German woman and a security guard were shot and killed by unknown gunmen on May 20, an official said on May 21.

The men kidnapped a Finnish woman before fleeing the scene, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

The incident took place in front of a womens' guesthouse, Danish said, adding that an investigation is under way.

Based on reporting by AFP and TOLOnews