Kabul - A police chief in the restive southern Afghan province of Kandahar was among nine officers killed Monday in a gunbattle between Afghan police and US-hired private security guards, local officials said.
Matiullah Qati and eight other police, including the head of the crime investigation department, were killed in the fighting in the prosecutor's office in the provincial capital, also called Kandahar, Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the provincial council and brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told the German Press Agency dpa.
The circumstances surrounding the gunfire remained confused with government officials not commenting so far on what happened. Earlier, however, a government official told dpa on the condition of anonymity that security contractors hired by foreign forces and used in military operations tried to remove a prisoner detained in the prosecutor's office.
The provincial prosecutor called on the police for help to prevent the contractors from taking the prisoner and fighting started as soon as the police chief exchanged harsh words and insults with the contractors, the source said.
Kandahar is the Taliban's former stronghold and President Karzai's hometown. (dpa)
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