At least 13 soldiers were killed and eight others wounded in fighting with Taliban insurgents at several security checkpoints in southern Afghanistan, a government official said on Thursday.

Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, said the fighting took place overnight in southern Kandahar province when Taliban fighters stormed the checkpoints and battles lasting for several hours ensued.

Waziri said the insurgents were driven back and 20 of their fighters killed. There was no immediate response from the Taliban.

Samim Khpolwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed the attack, saying the Taliban suffered heavy casualties.

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