Kabul : A district chief along with six policemen were killed in an explosion in the south-eastern province of Paktika while Afghan and US led coalition forces killed 18 suspected Taliban in two clashes in southern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.
Sahar Gul, the district chief of Yahyakhail district of Paktika province, along with six policemen were killed when a weapons cache was detonated by a remote-controlled bomb by suspected Taliban, Akram Khepilwak, the provincial governor, told Deutsch Presse-Agentur.
Khepilwak said that Gul, along several policemen, was inspecting a newly discovered weapons cache on Wednesday morning when the explosion took place.
Four other policemen were wounded in the blast, he added.
Taliban militants took responsibility for the attack in a statement posted at their website.
Meanwhile, seven foreign and six Afghan militants including Mullah Saifullah, a local Taliban commander were killed Wednesday in Maiwand district of Helmand province in fighting with Afghan police and coalition forces, the Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement.
During the four-hour battle, which was conducted both by air and ground forces, several Taliban heavy artillery weapons were destroyed, the statement said.
Meanwhile, five other suspected Taliban were killed Wednesday during a five-hour gunbattle with Afghan and coalition forces in the Joy Shahi area of Helmand's Sangin district, the statement added.
The coalition, talking about the incident in Sangin, said more than 25 Taliban fighters, positioned in three compounds, attacked coalition forces with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
"Coalition forces returned fire and suppressed the enemy fighting positions," the statement said, adding, "Coalition forces killed several Taliban fighters and destroyed two enemy positions during the six-hour battle."
Violence has been on the rise in Afghanistan for the past several weeks. The Taliban-led fighting has left more than 1,700 people dead, mostly insurgents, so far this year.