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    Security firm comes under attack in Helmand

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Taliban killed a guard of a private security firm in southern Helmand province, officials said on Saturday.

    The Taliban had ambushed a vehicle late Friday night, killing one guard and injuring three others, deputy commander of 215th Military Corps, Ghulam Farooq Parwani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The attack happened in Spin Jomat area of Greshk district at 9 pm Friday night, he said.

    But a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, claimed that six Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were killed in the attack, a claim denied by Parwani.

    Attacks against private security firms have increased since President Hamid Karzai issued a decree setting a January 1 deadline for all private security companies to shut down.

    On Saturday, coalition troops killed two private security contractors in Maidan Shahr, the capital of central Maidan Wardak province.

    Also on Saturday, the Ministry of Interior said Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in Darqad district of eastern Kunar province.

    Nine Taliban were killed and 12 others wounded in the crossfire in which police suffered no casualties, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

    The statement also said that over the past 24 hours, four bombs and a bucket full of explosives had been discovered and defused in Zabul, Herat and Nimroz provinces.