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August 25, 2010

Taliban Kill Eight Afghan Police in Raid

Afghan officials say Taliban rebels have killed eight police officers in a raid in the northern province of Kunduz, stepping up strikes in what once was a relatively secure part of Afghanistan.

Officials say the insurgents overran a police post in Kunduz city early Thursday.  They say one policeman survived the attack but was wounded.

The northern province has seen an increasing number of attacks on Afghan and international forces, as the Taliban expands its influence.

In other news, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reiterated calls for the United States to shift its military focus to terrorist hideouts in neighboring Pakistan.

Mr. Karzai raised the issue Thursday during talks with the head of the U.S. Central Command, General James Mattis, in Kabul.  A statement from President Karzai's office said the war in Afghanistan will not be won unless terrorists are eliminated.

Also Thursday, Afghan officials say 10 members of a parliamentary candidate's campaign team have been kidnapped in western Afghanistan.  Officials say the group was traveling in Herat province when they were captured Wednesday by armed men.

Security is a top concern ahead of the 18 Sep parliamentary election.  Afghan election officials have said that more than 900 polling stations will not open because voter safety can not be ensured.

In other developments, NATO says two of its reconnaissance drones crashed Thursday, one in the southern province of Kandahar and another in Wardak province.  NATO says security forces were able to recover both drones, but could not find the camera from the aircraft that crashed in Kandahar.   

NATO says residents reported that insurgents seized the device, but officials say the camera has no recording capability and was only used to transmit images.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.