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Third bomb attack in 24 hours kills eight Afghan police

KABUL (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed eight policemen in Afghanistan's volatile southern province of Kandahar, police said on Sunday, the third deadly attack by insurgents against police in 24 hours.

Twenty police have been killed across Afghanistan since midday on Saturday, a level of violence that underlines concern over how the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces will manage once most NATO-led troops withdraw by the end of next year.

In the latest attack, the police in Kandahar had just finished defusing a roadside bomb and had arrested three men suspected of being Taliban insurgents when the blast occurred late on Saturday.

"As they were leaving the area another bomb went off near their vehicle, killing eight policemen and two suspects," said Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Raziq.

Six police and a third Taliban suspect were wounded.

That blast came hours after 10 police officers, including the provincial counter-terrorism chief, were killed in an attack in northern Kunduz province. Another two police were killed in a bombing in eastern Ghazni province.

Eleven years into the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents, violence has been increasing against Afghan security forces, sparking concern that they will not be able to take over all security responsibilities by the middle of this year.

(Reporting By Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Dylan Welch; Editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman and Paul Tait)