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Afghan insurgents kill policemen

Insurgents have killed eight Afghan policemen in a raid on a checkpoint outside the northern city of Kunduz, local police said.

Officers suspected the raid was carried out by militants from Russia's restive Chechnya region who are active in the surrounding province, also called Kunduz.

More than 10 militants took part in the attack, two or three of whom were believed to have been wounded when the police fought back, spokesman Abdul Raziq Yaqoubi said.

The militants apparently hoped to steal the policemen's weapons, but were beaten back before they could do so, he said.

Kunduz has seen an increasing number of attacks on Afghan and foreign coalition forces who rely on a supply line running south through the province from neighbouring Tajikistan.

Foreign fighters from Chechnya, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf are smuggled into the area over the rugged mountainous border with Pakistan to the east.

Meanwhile, a candidate in the country's parliamentary elections said that 10 of her campaign workers were kidnapped while travelling in the western province of Herat.

Fawzya Galani said she lost contact with the group at about 6pm on Wednesday. Villagers told her armed men had stopped the group and driven off in their two vehicles, Ms Galani said.

No-one claimed responsibility and local district chief Nisar Ahmad Popal said it wasn't clear whether the kidnappers were political rivals or members of the Taliban, which is seeking to sabotage the September 18 elections for 249 seats in the lower house of parliament.

"We are trying to find them and our efforts are continuing," Popal said.

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