Afghan government: 12 police, 6 civilians killed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A string of militant attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 police officers while six civilians died in bombings, authorities said Tuesday.

Also, a U.S. service member was killed Tuesday in a gun battle in eastern Afghanistan, said Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for U.S. forces. And a British Marine died in a hospital in Britain from injuries sustained in a firefight Sunday in southern Helmand province, the British Defense Ministry said.

Both NATO troops and Afghan security forces have been suffering heavier casualties in recent weeks.

Including the latest deaths, 41 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this month, 27 of them American.

The Taliban have declared a summer offensive against NATO forces and those allied with the coalition or the Afghan government - ramping up attacks as NATO troops prepare operations in the Taliban heartland of southern Kandahar province.

The civilians were killed in two attacks - one a remote-controlled explosive that killed four people in Helmand, and the second a roadside bomb that killed two others in western Herat province, the Interior Ministry said. The police deaths occurred in a number of incidents in the east and south.

Militants attacked a police checkpoint in eastern Ghazni province before dawn Tuesday, killing five officers and wounding one, said Ghazni Deputy Police Chief Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

He said the attackers overran the checkpoint north of Ghazni city and made off with weapons. On Monday, militants attacked Afghan and NATO forces outside of Jalalabad city in the east.

The resulting firefight left two police officers and five attackers dead, the Interior Ministry said. Roadside bombs killed four police officers in Wardak province and one in Kandahar province, the ministry said.

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