Taliban fighters stormed a police post in Afghanistan, killing 10 in the latest in a surge of attacks as the US prepared to unveil its new strategy for the war-torn nation.
The early morning attack took place in the Nahri Sarraj district of southern Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold, the interior ministry said.
"Nine hero policemen were martyred in the cowardly attack by the enemies of Afghanistan," it said, using a phrase that commonly refers to Taliban fighters, who are battling to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul.
Militants also ambushed police reinforcements from the provincial capital Lashkar Gah led by the deputy provincial police chief Kamaluddin Khan as they were about to arrive at the scene, sparking another battle, Khan said.
"Another policeman was killed and two were wounded in the subsequent one-and-a-half hours of fighting," he said yesterday.
The Taliban fled the area after the attack but an operation was underway to hunt down the attackers, he said.
The small police building lies on a road connecting Nahri Sarraj to the neighbouring district of Nad Ali, and is used to secure both a nearby village and the road, added the deputy police chief.