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9 Taliban Killed in Southern Afghanistan

Authorities in Afghanistan say police killed nine Taliban militants Tuesday, a day after six policemen were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern part of the country.

On Monday, Taliban militants attacked a police checkpoint in Kandahar province, near the Pakistani border.

A police commander in the region said 200 policemen searching for the attackers clashed with the militants, killing nine of them.

Meanwhile, in the western Afghan province of Herat, authorities say they believe militants have abducted two foreign employees of a U.S. security company.

Police say an Indian and a Nepalese worker disappeared Monday evening while traveling in the Adraskan district. Their driver also is missing.

In other news, the U.S. commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan says Afghan forces should be able to secure most of the country by 2011, allowing international troops to start withdrawing

In an interview published Monday in The New York Times, General Dan McNeill said Afghan army and police forces have already been managing security for the capital, Kabul, for the past year, with NATO support.

The issue of NATO involvement in Afghanistan has caused strains within the alliance. Some NATO members have been reluctant to send troops, or to allow their troops to operate in areas where a resurgent Taliban movement is most active.

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