Ex-Afghan Provincial Police Chief Killed

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Foreign troops killed a former provincial police chief in southern Afghanistan during an overnight clash that also left two of his bodyguards dead, an official said Thursday.

Troops battled with Ruzi Khan Barakzai, the former police chief of Uruzgan province, near the provincial capital of Tirin Kot, said Uruzgan's deputy police chief Ghulab Khan Wardak.

Barakzai was called to a house of his friend, which was surrounded by foreign troops late Wednesday, Wardak said.

After he arrived with his guards at the house, a clash with foreign troops erupted in which Barakzai and two of his bodyguards were killed, Wardak said. Two other of Barakzai's bodyguards were wounded.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said its troops were involved in an incident in Uruzgan on Wednesday night but did not have more details.

Barakzai was a tribal leader and a militia commander in Uruzgan.

In other violence, Taliban militants killed two policemen and wounded three others after attacking their checkpoint in the eastern Paktika province Thursday morning, said provincial governor Akram Akhpelwak.

In central Logar province, meanwhile, five other police officers were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle Wednesday, said Mostapha Mohseni.

In the western Herat province's Shindand, another roadside blast wounded three more policemen, said Noor Khan Nekzad, a regional police spokesman.

Militants have killed more than 720 police in the last six months. In 2007, militants killed about 925 police -- meaning the pace of attacks this year has increased.

Afghanistan's 80,000 police have less training and less firepower than the Afghan army, making them an attractive target for militants. The police also travel in small groups through some of Afghanistan's most dangerous territory.

In all, more than 4,500 people -- mostly militants -- have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an Associated Press tally of figures from Afghan and Western officials.

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