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Officials in Afghanistan say a police commander and 12 junior officers have defected to the Taliban after poisoning seven colleagues.

Officials in the western province of Farah said on July 24 that the commander, known as Mirwais, was in charge of a checkpoint in the Bala Boluk district when he and his unit defected to the Taliban and handed over their equipment and weapons, including military vehicles.

Officials said the seven police were apparently poisoned because they refused to join the Taliban.

All of those poisoned were taken to a hospital for treatment and their condition was not immediately clear.

Officials said the defection was the first time police have joined the Taliban and taken so much equipment with them.

Farah, bordering Iran, is one of western Afghanistan's most insecure provinces.

Based on reporting by AFP and BBC Pashto

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