KABUL Afghanistan. (AP) — An Afghan official says the Taliban have killed four police in the southern Kandahar province.

Gen. Abdul Raziq, the provincial chief police, says the militants attacked checkpoints in the Maruf district late Sunday, settling off several hours of heavy fighting. He says Afghan forces eventually repelled the attack, causing "heavy casualties" among the militants.

The Taliban claimed the assault in a statement to media.

Afghan forces have struggled to beat back a resurgent Taliban since U.S. and international forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.