Afghan officials said Sunday Taliban insurgents killed at least seven police officers in separate attacks in western Afghanistan on Saturday.

Authorities say militants attacked a police post in Farah province Posht-e-Rud, and five officers and at least seven Taliban fighters were killed in the ensuing clash.

Elsewhere in Farah Saturday, Taliban fighters ambushed Afghan police in Bala Boluk, triggering a battle in which two police officers and at least five insurgents were killed.

In policy news, Afghanistan's counter-narcotics minister General Khodaidad has defended his nation's counter-narcotics program, one day after a senior U.S. official slammed its own poppy-eradication efforts.

Khodaidad told journalists in Kabul Sunday that his nation has had a lot of success with its counter-narcotics program, which he says involves capacity building, and regional and international cooperation.  

He also said the Afghan government is waiting for the United States to introduce its new anti-drug strategy.

On Saturday, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told the Group of Eight foreign ministers that efforts to destroy poppy crops have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars.

He called such efforts "a failure" that boosted support for Taliban insurgents.

Holbrooke said the U.S. will now spend more money to support legal crops and agricultural development.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, the main ingredient in heroin.  The illicit drug trade provides a key source of revenue for Taliban insurgents.

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