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Clashes kill 4 cops, 26 militants in S. Afghanistan


15:35, May 21, 2013

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, May 21 (Xinhua) -- An Afghan provincial official said Tuesday that four Afghan policemen and 26 militants have been killed in ongoing clashes in the country's southern province of Helmand.

"Militants numbered hundreds launched armed attacks against police checkpoints in Pirozo and Kolali areas of Sangin district Monday morning and clashes still going on there till now," the provincial government spokesman Omar Zawak told Xinhua.

Up to Tuesday morning, four Afghan National Police (ANP) members and 26 militants died and five cops wounded in the clashes, he said.

The official also said several foreign militants took part in the attack in the province 555 km south of capital Kabul.

"On an intelligence tip off that an attack was impending in the area, the ANP already strengthened their forces and following the clash the ANP also found and seized several round of weapons," Zawak added.

Notorious for growing poppy and militancy, the Helmand province is branded as Taliban hotbed.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban purported spokesman, told local media via cell phone from undisclosed location that Taliban launched the attack and inflected casualties on the government forces.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group launched an annual rebel offensive late last month against Afghan government forces and about 100,000 NATO-led troops stationed in the country.

On Monday morning, 14 people were killed and 13 others wounded when a Taliban suicide bomber hit the provincial council building in relatively peaceful northern Baghlan province.

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