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Militants attack areas that NATO hands over to Afghan security forces

From Fazel Reshad, For CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 2 NATO service members died following an IED attack in eastern Afghanistan
  • At least 2 people were killed and nine wounded by an attack in Ghazni province
  • Afghan police uncovered a vehicle packed with 500 kilograms of explosives
  • Militants launch rocket attacks against an eastern Afghan provincial capital
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Militants launched rocket attacks against an eastern Afghan provincial capital Tuesday, just as a NATO handover ceremony to Afghan security forces in the province of Laghman was under way.

The Afghan National Army is currently located in the area and no casualties have been reported, according to Mawlawi Farazghan, a provincial council member.

Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed seven police officers near the city of Lashkar Gah, a southern provincial capital that NATO will hand over formally on Wednesday.

The policemen, who were a part of the country's national police force, were shot to death on Monday in an area west of the city in Helmand Province, said Dawood Ahmadi, the spokesman for the Helmand governor.

"The policemen were having lunch in their barracks when they were killed," Ahmadi told CNN. "We are not sure if the killers were policemen or some strangers who came as guests."

Zabiullah Mojahed, a spokesman for the Taliban, said one of the group's members killed the officers and stole weapons and a vehicle.

Lashkar Gah is the capital of Helmand province, a southern border region that was the scene of fierce fighting between coalition and Taliban forces last year.

The city is widely considered the most volatile of the first seven areas to be transferred to Afghan control.

Other areas to be transferred include parts of Herat, Balkh, Panjshir and Kabul province.

The first stage of the handover began Sunday, marked with a ceremony at a police station in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province -- a small, relatively stable area situated in the country's mountainous central region.

Elsewhere in the country, two International Assistance Security Force service members died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in eastern Afghanistan. And police said at least two people were killed and nine others wounded by a remote-controlled bomb in the eastern central province of Ghazni.

Meanwhile, Afghan authorities uncovered a vehicle packed with 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of explosives in the country's southwestern province of Farah.

CNN's David Ariosto contributed to this report

 
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