KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Up to 16 police were killed as militants stormed police checkpoints in Miwand district of the southern Kandahar province on Friday, a local official said.
"A group of Taliban rebels attacked some security checkpoints in Sarabaghal area of Miwand district at around 03:00 a.m. local time today triggering gun battle which lasted for a while during which 16 police personnel including commander of checkpoints Sardar Wali were martyred," the official told Xinhua but declined to be identified.
Nearly two dozen Taliban fighters were also killed and some others injured in the firefight, the official said.
Meanwhile, Samim Khapalwak, spokesman for Kandahar provincial government, has confirmed the fighting in Miwand district, saying the clash occured in "Sarabaghal locality early morning during which several enemies" had been killed. Khapalwak, however, declined to make comment on the possible casualties of security personnel.
However, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in the southern region, in contact with media, claimed that the armed militants inflicted huge casualties to police personnel in Miwand district.
Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban militants, has been the scene of insurgency over the past several years.