Death toll mounts in Afghan militant attacks

A string of militant attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 police officers while six civilians died in bombings, authorities said today.

A string of militant attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 police officers while six civilians died in bombings, authorities said today.

A US service member was also killed today in a gun battle in eastern Afghanistan, said Colonel Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for US forces.

The casualties come on top of a British Marine who died in hospital from injuries sustained in a clash on Sunday in southern Helmand province.

Nato troops and Afghan security forces have been suffering heavier casualties in recent weeks. Including the latest deaths, 41 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this month, 27 of them American.

The Taliban has declared a summer offensive against Nato forces and those allied with the coalition or the Afghan government – ramping up attacks as Nato troops prepare operations in the Taliban heartland of southern Kandahar province.

The civilians were killed in two attacks – one a remote-controlled explosive that killed four people in Helmand, and the second a roadside bomb that killed two others in western Herat province, the interior ministry said.

The police deaths occurred in a number of incidents in the east and south.

Militants attacked a police checkpoint in eastern Ghazni province before dawn today, killing five officers and wounding one, said Ghazni deputy police chief Nawroz Ali Nawroz. He said the attackers overran the checkpoint north of Ghazni city and made off with weapons.

On Monday, militants attacked Afghan and Nato forces outside Jalalabad city in the east. The resulting fight left two police officers and five attackers dead, the interior ministry said.

Roadside bombs killed four police officers in Wardak province and one in Kandahar province, the ministry said.

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