Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of a suicide blast in Kabul, May 29, 2010. — Photo by Reuters

KANDAHAR: Six Afghan policemen and a civilian were killed when their car drove over a landmine in the restive southern province of Uruzgan late Wednesday, an official said.

“The policemen were en route to their checkpoint from a village in Chora district when their vehicle rolled on a landmine,” said district police chief Mohammad Gul.

“It killed all six as well as a civilian crossing the area,” he added.

The Taliban were not immediately available to comment but roadside bombs are one of the most popular weapons in their decade-long insurgency against the Western-backed Afghan government.

The dead policemen belonged to a local village force, trained for three weeks and then paid to keep Taliban militants out of their areas.

The United States has described local forces as a temporary solution to a chronic shortage of police officers in many parts of the country, exacerbated by the Taliban's repeated targeting of would-be recruits.

There are around 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including 99,000 from the United States, battling the insurgency that began after the Taliban regime was ousted from power by the 2001 US-led invasion.

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