At least 15 Afghan nationals, including police officers and civilians, were killed during a gun-battle and suicide attack by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the military said.
Major Martin O'Donnell, a NATO-led military spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the casualties occurred when Taliban insurgents opened fire at Afghan police in Khogyani district of eastern Nangahar province on Tuesday morning.
O'Donnell said that a suicide bomber also detonated himself in the "midst of the confusion," causing several casualties.
He said that NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers were passing through the area at the time of attack, but no soldiers were injured.
A police official in the province, who did not want to be named said that Khogyani's district police chief was one of the casualties.
"A number of Afghan national police were killed and wounded in their station nearby with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades," ISAF later said in a statement.
"If the goal of the insurgents was to target ISAF troops operating in the area, they failed," Brigadier General Carlos Branco, ISAF spokesperson was quoted by the statement as saying.
"If the insurgents' goal was to injure and kill Afghan citizens, they succeeded. This only shows the insurgents' utter disregard for the life of the Afghan people," he said.
ISAF forces were assisting Afghan troops with the evacuation of casualties from the scene, the statement added.
Taliban militants carried out more than 140 suicide attack in the country last year, marking it as a record year since fall of Taliban regime in late 2001.