Militants Kill 6 Afghan Police, Burn 4 Bodies

Suspected Taliban militants killed six Afghan policemen in Afghanistan's volatile south and burned four of their bodies, officials said Friday. A U.S. soldier was killed elsewhere in the country.

The policemen were ambushed late Thursday at a highway checkpoint building on the Kandahar-Herat road in the Kandahar provincial district of Navand, said provincial highway police chief Raz Mohammed Khan.

All the policemen had been shot to death. The bodies of two officers were found burned on the building's roof, while the bodies of two others were found burned inside the post, Khan said.

"This is a very bad incident which we believe was carried out by the Taliban," Khan said.

Police were investigating the incident and no arrests had been made.

Cremating bodies is banned by Islam, and Muslim clerics in Afghanistan previously reacted angrily after a video broadcast by Australian television in October purported to show American soldiers burning two dead Taliban fighters.

Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for a spike in brazen attacks targeting Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces in recent months, particularly in southern areas such as the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

The U.S. military said the soldier was killed in a clash while inspecting a weapons cache in the central Uruzgan province's district of Dihrawud, about 270 miles southwest of Kabul. His identity was not immediately released.

An Afghan soldier was also wounded and transported to a coalition medical facility, the military said.

At least 224 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. Of those, at least 141 were killed by hostile action.