KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban insurgents killed six Afghan security personnel Saturday in two separate attacks, Afghan officials said.
Four policemen were killed and seven others wounded in double-suicide attacks on their checkpoint outside a security forces station in the southern province of Helmand, said Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang, the provincial police chief.
Sarjang said five insurgents equipped with suicide vests were shot and killed by security forces. Mohammad Rasoul Zazi, an army spokesman in Helmand, said one army soldier was killed and another was wounded in the attack.
The incident took place in Sangin, where the Taliban have been launching attacks against Afghan army and police for several weeks.
The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, said the insurgents had used stolen Humvees packed with explosives to launch the attack, which resulted in "casualties on both sides."
Speaking to reporters weeks before he ends his command, Campbell confirmed that U.S. special forces would be deployed to Helmand to provide "training, advice and assistance" to Afghan forces as they battle the Taliban.
Troop strength would not be boosted overall, Campbell said, adding that it was a normal rotation through Afghanistan, with numbers to be beefed up in Helmand only.
The U.S. will add a battalion of troops with some advisers to its current deployment to the province.
The Afghan military is currently rebuilding is main corps in Helmand, rotating in new leaders to deal with a range of problems from exhaustion to corruption.
Campbell said more than 90 officers had already been replaced in an effort to improve leadership and morale of Afghan forces, who last year took 28-percent more casualties than the year before as they took on the Taliban without the backup of international combat troops.
The U.S.-NATO combat mission ended in 2014.
Meanwhile, another policeman was killed and four others wounded when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Uruzgan province, said Rahimullah Khaliqi, the district administration chief.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks in both Helmand and Uruzgan. The Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan security forces in the past year, waging offensives across the country.
Also Saturday, the Afghan power company said it repaired some power supply cables from Tajikistan that were damaged during fights between Afghan security forces and insurgents.
The company said there were still power shortages in the capital, Kabul, because their engineers couldn't work in some areas where gun battles continued to rage.
Kabul has been suffering from severe power outages in the past two weeks because battles between Afghan security forces against insurgents have disrupted power provided by Uzbekistan. Afghanistan receives electricity from both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.