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Taliban Fighters Storm Afghan Security Checkpoints, Killing Eight

Provincial council chief Wafiullah Rahmani said three soldiers and five police officers were killed. (file photo)

KABUL -- Taliban fighters attacked security checkpoints in Afghanistan's northeastern Takhar Province, killing eight members of the security forces, a local official has said.

Provincial council chief Wafiullah Rahmani on May 7 said three soldiers and five police officers were killed in the May 6 attack in Khwaja Bahaudin district.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The militants launch near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces, even as peace efforts have been gaining momentum to put an end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.

In a separate development, Dadullah Qaneh, a councilman in western Farah Province, said coalition forces on May 5 launched air strikes against Taliban-run heroin labs, killing 15 people.

Qaneh said the victims were laborers, but Mohibullah Mohib, the provincial police chief's spokesman, said those killed in the Bakwa district air strikes were all members of the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan said that a U.S. service member had died in a “non-combat related incident” in the country’s east on May 6.

“The incident is under investigation,” a statement said. “The name of the service member will be released 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.”

It did not provide further details.

The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support, which provides training and assistance to security forces in Afghanistan as they battle Taliban fighters and other extremist groups.

The Taliban now effectively controls or influences about half of the country. Dashing hopes for any quick cease-fire, the militant group has announced the start of its spring offensive, despite taking part in several rounds of talks with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.

With reporting by AP and dpa