The late Friday attack took place in the Musa Qala district of Helmand where insurgents are active. “The outpost came under fire from all directions that killed 17 policemen over hours of battle and ten insurgents were killed, Essa said," District Police Chief Mohammad Essa told reporters.

Poorly trained and ill-equipped, the police are the front line against the Taliban. Often stationed in remote outposts, they suffer far higher casualties than the better-equipped army.

With US Forces no longer providing air support for their Afghan allies, Taliban fighters are attacking government positions in large numbers this year with the aim of taking and holding  territory in remote parts of the country.

Taliban are fighting to overthrow US-backed government and impose Islamist rule. They have stepped up their attacks against Afghan forces since the departure of most foreign troops last year, especially in the past couple of months since warmer weather returned.

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