updated 1/13/2008 12:16:35 PM ET 2008-01-13T17:16:35

Taliban militants killed eight police officers Sunday in an attack on a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, while a suicide bomber killed another policeman in a separate attack, officials said.

The militants stormed the police checkpoint in Maywand district of Kandahar province, said Sadullah Khan, a police officer in neighboring Neven district.

After the attack, the militants took two police vehicles and the officers' weapons, Khan said.

In neighboring Helmand province, a suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body tried to enter the house of a regional police commander in a housing compound in the town of Lashkar Gah, said provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andiwal.

Guards challenged the man, who then blew himself up, killing one policemen and wounding two children, four civilians and two other police officers, Andiwal said.

More than 925 Afghan police died in Taliban ambushes and bombings in 2007. The police appear to be more vulnerable to militant attacks because they work in smaller groups than Afghan army troops and are not as well trained, officials say.

Militants have also launched more than 140 suicide attacks against Afghan government troops and officials as well as foreign forces over the past year. Most of the victims have been civilians.

Friendly fire deaths
A day earlier, Dutch troops killed two of their own men during a nighttime battle, and separately two allied Afghan soldiers they mistook for enemies, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

“Darkness, the weather conditions and the confused situation” played a role in the mistake Saturday in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, Gen. Dick Berlijn, the top Dutch military commander, said in a statement.

The two Afghan soldiers, who were not in uniform, had approached a wounded Dutch soldier, Berlijn said.

About 1,650 Dutch troops were deployed in Uruzgan as part of the NATO mission there. Fourteen Dutch troops have died since their mission began last year.

The soldiers' families have been informed, but their names have not yet been released, the ministry said.

Two Afghan soldiers were killed later the same evening in more fighting in Uruzgan, the ministry said.

In neighboring Kandahar province, three Taliban were killed Saturday in a battle with Afghan and foreign troops, Asadullah Khalid, the provincial governor, said.

Two other Taliban fighters were detained during the same operation in Panjwayi district, Khalid said. There were no casualties among Afghan and foreign troops, he said.

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