Taliban fighters attacked checkpoints in northern and southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing a total of 16 members of the Afghan National police, officials said.

Officials said the eight policemen were killed before dawn when militants attacked a checkpoint in the northern province of Baghlan. At about the same time, Taliban fighters attacked another police checkpoint in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, killing another eight policemen, the Interior Ministry said.

Two militants were killed and another was wounded in the Baghlan attack, deputy provincial police chief Zalmai Mangal. Baghlan Gov. Mohammad Akbar Barakzai said the policemen were providing security on the main road through the province.

In Lashkar Gah, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said the attack occurred before dawn at a checkpoint on the northeast outskirts of the city, which is the capital of Helmand province.

He said one policeman who disappeared may have been linked to the attackers. He also said the Taliban made off with a police vehicle, six Kalashnikov rifles and a heavy machine gun.

Separately on Monday, NATO said an Afghan-international security force detained a weapons smuggler and a small group of other militants in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. The suspect allegedly worked with the Al Qaeda linked Haqqani network of militants.

The Haqqani network of Afghan fighters directs the battle against U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan from the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan. NATO said the suspect surrendered to the joint force at a compound in the Sabari district of Khost province.

In southern Afghanistan, NATO said an Afghan-international security force detained a Taliban weapons smuggler and a couple of other militants in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar province.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in either operation.