Taliban bomb kills eight Afghan police, say officials

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A Taliban bomb killed eight Afghan police Thursday in Logar province outside the capital Kabul, officials said, four days after the insurgents started their annual “spring offensive.”

The members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force were on a joint-patrol with NATO-led coalition forces near Puli Alam town when the blast was detonated.

“One of the police vehicles hit an IED [improvised explosive device] in which eight local police were killed and their pick-up truck was totally destroyed,” Rais Khan Sadeq, Logar provincial deputy police chief, told AFP.

Din Mohammad Darvish, the provincial spokesman, confirmed the incident and the death toll. “Eight local police are killed in a Taliban bomb,” he said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told AFP that the insurgent group was responsible for the attack.

“A big number of police are dead and a big number of them are wounded,” he said, without giving further details.

Founded in 2010, the ALP is a controversial unit tasked with community-level policing to suppress violence in some of Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas.

It was designed as a homegrown force of locals ready to take on Taliban hardliners in places where the national police and army were scarce, but is often criticized as undisciplined and poorly-trained.