Gunmen took over a highway in eastern Afghanistan late Monday night and began shooting indiscriminately at passing vehicles, killing at least 12 people, police said.
Police Chief Gen. Khalil Andarabi said that a group of armed men dressed in white clothing set up check points in two positions in eastern Wardak province at around 11:30 p.m. They stopped passing cars and opened fire without asking questions, he added, adding that highway police and the national army were notified and immediately sent reinforcements.
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The armed men fled after a half hour clash with police. Andarabi said that twelve civilians in total were killed and three others injured. One gunman was killed and police were trying to determine his identity, he added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban denied responsibility for the shootings, saying in a tweet that it was the "work of intelligence agencies."
The attack comes as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in Washington, D.C. meeting with U.S. officials. He will meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday and is expected to press him not to withdrawal U.S. troops from Afghanistan too quickly.