At least 18 people killed in two separate attacks in Afghanistan: Officials

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Two separate attacks in Afghanistan have killed at least 18 people amid a wave of violence across the country, local Afghan officials said on Saturday.

A local police chief in western Ghor, Fakhrudin, said the Taliban stormed a police checkpoint late Friday night and killed ten police officers.

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He added that one policeman was wounded and another one was still missing after the attack in the remote village in the Pasaband district.

The police official blamed the Taliban for the attack who have a strong presence in the area, especially in the Pasaband district. The Taliban have not commented on the attack in Ghor.

Meanwhile in the eastern Khost province, unknown gunmen targeting a former warlord killed at least eight people in the province’s Ali Sher district, said Adel Haider, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

The police spokesman said that the target of the attack was among the dead — Abdul Wali Ekhlas, a candidate in last year's parliamentary elections who didn't win a seat.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks in Khost province. Violence has spiked in recent weeks in Afghanistan with most of the attacks claimed by the local Islamic State group affiliate.

On Friday, a bomb explosion inside a mosque in the capital, Kabul, killed at least four people, including the prayer leader.

The Taliban strongly condemned the mosque attack.

The United States blamed the ISIS affiliate for a horrific attack last month on a maternity hospital in the capital that killed 24 people, including two infants and several new mothers.

The ISIS group, which reviles Shia as heretics, has declared war on the country’s minority Shia Muslims, but has also attacked Sunni Muslim mosques.

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