MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- At least eight Afghan police officers were killed and three others wounded after Taliban stormed a security checkpoint in northern province of Balkh overnight, a local official said Sunday.
"Taliban attacked a security checkpoint with guns and rocket propelled grenades mid-night. Police officers guarding a gas pipeline in Harab-e-Mazari village, Chimtal district responded to the attack. The exchange of fire left eight police killed and three others wounded," district chief Matin Khojazada told Xinhua.
Several militants were also killed and wounded during the gun battle, but their number could not be specified as the militants evacuated their casualties after the fighting, he said.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, tweeted that the insurgents' fighters also destroyed the security checkpoint and two police vehicle.
Fighting has escalated in Afghanistan as the Taliban insurgency spreads from its traditional strongholds in the south and east to the once peaceful region in the north, where Taliban have been recruiting among the youth.
The district, 305 km north of Kabul, has been the scene of clashes for long.
The militants have also intensified attacks on security forces and staged coordinated large-scale attacks in Afghan cities and districts.
On Friday, 32 Afghan border force personnel were killed in a Taliban attack in southern Kandahar province.