Kabul: Militants attacked a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing five policemen and two civilians during a two-hour-long shootout with security forces, officials said.
The brazen assault took place in Gorzaiwan district near Maimana -- the capital city of Faryab province -- early in the morning, Mohammad Nahim deputy provincial police chief told AFP.
"Five police and two civilians were killed in the attack," he said.
No one claimed immediate responsibility but such attacks are often carried out by the Taliban.
"The checkpoint was in a strategic location that would block Taliban entrance to the area. That is why they chose to attack it," Nahim added.
Raziq Kakar, the district governor of Gorzaiwan, confirmed the attack.
Taliban militants have intensified attacks on Afghan security forces in this election year, aiming to undermine the government in the run-up to the withdrawal of foreign forces by the end of 2014.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when they were toppled by a US-led invasion.