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Apr 17, 12:46 PM EDT

Taliban kill 4 Afghan policemen south of Kabul

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban militants stopped a car carrying several Afghan police officers on the road to Kabul and killed at least four of them, authorities said Thursday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack that took place Wednesday in Wardak province south of the capital, although there were conflicting reports about the number of policemen - if any - who managed to escape.

Wardak province deputy police chief Lutfullah Zaryab said militants abducted 11 policemen traveling from the southern city of Kandahar to Kabul, and killed four of them. He said the remaining seven police managed to flee.

Provincial spokesman Attahullah Khugyani said there were only five policemen in the vehicle, but confirmed that four of them were killed. He said the fifth man escaped.

In a statement emailed to reporters, the Taliban said they were behind the attack. They said their fighters took seven policemen on the road and killed all seven of them.

The reason for the discrepancy in numbers was not clear, but such differences are common in the aftermath of attacks in Afghanistan.

The Taliban frequently target police and government officials for assassination and abduction. On Tuesday, Afghanistan's deputy public works minister was abducted from his car in Kabul on his way to work, though it clear whether the Taliban were responsible.

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