Taliban insurgents have stormed security posts in west Afghanistan, killing 21 police and pro-government militia members.
It is the latest in a surge of attacks that has cast doubt on tentative steps towards talks.
The Taliban attacked the checkpoints in two different parts of Badghis province, which is on the border with Turkmenistan, late at night.
The head of the Badghis provincial council said 14 policemen and seven members of pro-government militias were killed, while nine were injured.
A second government official said more than 15 Taliban militants were killed and 10 wounded in the clashes.