HERAT  - Ten Afghan security personnel have been killed in a bloody battle with Taliban insurgents in the western province of Herat, officials said on Tuesday.

Five police officers were among the dead, including the police chief of Obe district, where the battle took place on Monday afternoon, regional police spokesman Noor Khan Nikzad told AFP. Nikzad said the gunfight erupted at noon when the Taliban attacked a police convoy and lasted several hours. Najeebullah Ahmadi, the Obe district governor, said five police and five soldiers were killed in the battle.

Three Taliban insurgents including a commander were also killed, he said. Afghan forces, police and army, are due to take full security responsibility from their Western allies, a US-led NATO force, by the end of 2014 when the foreign troops leave the country.

Casualties among Afghan security forces have surged as they take over from their foreign allies during this transition process.