Gunmen storm Afghan police post, kill 8: governor

Afghanistan, Dec. 14 (AFP) - Islamist gunmen stormed an Afghan police post set up to protect NATO convoys in the north of the country overnight, killing eight policemen, a senior local official said Monday.

The group of gunmen ambushed the post at 2:00 am on the main highway running northeast from the Afghan capital Kabul through Baghlan province, which lies on a route supplying NATO troops fighting a Taliban-led insurgency.

The attack underscores the vulnerability of Afghan police, whose training along with that of the local military is a cornerstone of a new US strategy to turn around the war and start withdrawing American troops in July 2011.

"Eight police were killed in an attack on their post. Their post was in Baghlan Markazi district," Mohammad Akbar Barakzai, Baghlan provincial governor, told AFP.

He blamed Hezb-e-Islami, an Islamist militant group particularly strong in northeastern regions of Afghanistan, such as Baghlan and neighbouring Kunduz province, where violence has steadily increased over the last two years.

A man claiming to speak for Hezb-e-Islami told AFP in a telephone call his group had carried out the attack. He said one of the group's fighters had also died.

Hezb-e-Islami is led by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is on the United States' most wanted list of terror suspects.

Barakzai said the post had been set up only recently to protect convoys supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan.

An increasing volume of supplies for the 113,000 NATO and US troops based in the country is coming into the landlocked country from the north, with the main route through neighbouring Pakistan frequently coming under attack.

Source: AFP

Other news