A suicide car bomber targeted an Afghan forces’ checkpoint in southern Helmand province, killing at least six members of an intelligence service unit, an Afghan official said Tuesday.

According to Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor in Helmand, seven other members of the service were wounded in the attack, which took place late on Monday night in the district of Gareshk, close to the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

Later Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in Helmand.

The Taliban have expanded their footprint in Helmand and the province has witnessed some of the heaviest clashes between militants and security forces in the past years.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counterterrorism.

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