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Dispute over deaths of 20 Afghan police officers

  • Story Highlights
  • 20 Afghan police officers found dead at government official's home
  • Mother of one officer also killed as she begged for son to be spared
  • Attack happened at home of Mullah Abdul Salaam in southern Helmand province
  • NEW: Army disputes claims of provincial officials that victims were killed by Taliban
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From journalist Aleem Agha
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Twenty members of the Afghan National Police were killed outside the home of an Afghan government official in Helmand province, a spokesman for the provincial governor said Thursday -- but there are conflicting reports about what happened.

Spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said the men were killed in a Taliban ambush, but the Afghan National Army said the incident was a dispute among the bodyguards, resulting in their own deaths.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force, while making clear it had no involvement in the incident, said it concurred with the army's report after arriving at the scene.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told CNN the deaths resulted when the police fought with "enemies of security" early Wednesday.

Ahmadi maintained it was a Taliban attack, pointing out that there were dead Taliban fighters at the scene.

The mother of one of the police officers was also killed in the incident when she begged the attackers to spare her son, Ahmadi said.

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The attack happened at the home of Mullah Abdul Salaam, the commissioner of Musa Qala district. His home is located in the neighboring district of Kajaki.

Salaam was in the capital of Kabul at the time and was unharmed, Ahmadi said.

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