KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Dozens of Taliban insurgents attacked a police post in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, killing at least 17 policemen, police said on Saturday.
With U.S. forces no longer providing air support for their Afghan allies, Taliban fighters are attacking government positions in large numbers this year with the aim of taking and holding territory in remote parts of the country.
The late Friday attack took place in the Musa Qala district of Helmand where insurgents are active.
“The outpost came under fire from all directions that killed 17 policemen over hours of battle,” district police chief Mohammad Essa told Reuters by telephone.
Ten insurgents were killed, Essa said.
Poorly trained and ill-equipped, the police are the front line against the Taliban. Often stationed in remote outposts, they suffer far higher casualties than the better-equipped army.
Taliban are fighting to overthrow the U.S.-backed government and impose Islamist rule.
They have stepped up their attacks against Afghan forces since the departure of most foreign troops last year, especially in the past couple of months since warmer weather returned.
Reporting by Sarwar Amani; Writing by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Robert Birsel