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Taliban claims attack on Afghanistan outpost that killed 10

Gunmen attacked an outpost of a government-sponsored militia in western Afghanistan and killed 10 members of the security force, officials said Thursday.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militants armed with assault rifles stormed the outpost of the militia known as the Afghan Local Police late Wednesday in Farah province's Khaki Safed district, said provincial police chief Shamsul Rahman Zahid.

They shot a guard who was posted outside, then pushed into the compound and opened fire on those inside, said Abdul Khaliq Noorzai, the district administrator.

Another two militia members were dragged outside and shot dead, said Zahid. Four militiamen survived the attack, he said.

The Afghan Local Police are a force created with the help of the American military. They have been described as an armed neighborhood watch. The members come from the local community and receive a small government salary to man checkpoints and oversee security in their area. They receive a few weeks of training before starting the work.

The attacks appear to be part of an increase in violence at the beginning of the spring fighting season. During the harsh Afghan winter, snow often blocks roads and fighting dies down.

The death toll from a separate attack Wednesday by a Taliban suicide bomber on a motorcycle rose Thursday to 13, including three American soldiers, according to NATO and U.S. forces. Previously the toll was reported to be at least 10.

The Taliban are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power and undermine U.S. efforts to try to build up the Afghan military, which will take the lead in combat responsibility over the next couple of years.