KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents overran two checkpoints in southern Helmand province and killed 29 border police officers, a provincial official said.

Bashir Ahmad Shakir, a provincial council member in Helmand province, said on Wednesday that the police officers were killed after a three-day battle, when reinforcements failed to arrive.

Shakir said the Taliban initially killed 21 officers and took eight hostages, but later killed the eight prisoners.

Shakir said the Nawzad district of Helmand province, where the battles took place, is a particularly volatile area that is regularly targeted by insurgents.

"If reinforcements would have gotten there, the police forces could have survived," said Shakir, who added that the Taliban fighters captured vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.