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Kandahar Police Chief Killed In Clash Between Afghan Forces

Kandahar Province police chief Matiullah Qateh was killed.

Kandahar Province police chief Matiullah Qateh was killed.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- The provincial police chief and at least four other police officers in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar Province have been killed in a clash with private Afghan security guards.

Local officials told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the clash broke out after the security guards entered the Kandahar city prosecutor's office and forcibly removed an unidentified prisoner.

Kandahar Provincial Council head Ahmed Wali Karzai told RFE/RL that the "clash erupted when a group of Afghan security guards for foreign troops wanted to take out a prisoner, probably a driver."

Karzai said provincial police chief General Matiullah Qahteh and eight other police officers were killed. It's not clear if there were casualties among the guards.

Karzai -- the younger brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- said the security guards were unsuccessful in their attempt to remove the prisoner. He added that police are trying to arrest the security guards involved in the incident.

A senior Kandahar security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL that Qateh, along with the head of the city police department and four other police officers, were killed in the gun battle.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zmarai Bashari told local television the prisoner had been due to appear on criminal charges on June 29, but gave no other details.