AFP, Mazar-i-Sharif
Taliban fighters killed at least 18 Afghan security personnel yesterday in two attacks on checkpoints in the north, officials said, the latest violence ahead of expected peace talks.

In one pre-dawn raid, militants killed 12 Afghan security force members when they stormed a checkpoint in Jawezjan province, Maroof Azar, spokesman to the governor, told AFP.

He said four security personnel were captured by the militants and five Taliban fighters were killed in the fighting.

Separately, Taliban fighters were blamed for a raid on an army outpost in Kunduz.

Six soldiers were killed in fighting that lasted about five hours, said Aminullah Iddin, a member of the provincial council. Army spokesman Hadi Jamal confirmed the attack, saying four Taliban fighters were also killed. Taliban did not comment on the Kunduz attack.