"After we sent our police to the area, they had gone missing. We found their vehicle abandoned," he said.
Police had not been contacted by any group that may have taken the men.

Policemen killed

Elsewhere, Taliban fighters stormed a police post overnight, killing six officers, according to a police commander in the southern border province of Kandahar.

"Armed Taliban attacked one of our police posts in Arghistan overnight. Six policemen in the post were martyred," Rahmatullah Khan told the AFP news agency.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

In a separate incident, Afghan police killed nine Taliban fighters, officials said.

Authorities recovered the bodies of four dead fighters after Tuesday's gun battle, while the fighters took away five more dead fighters as they retreated, Raziq said.

Checkpoint battle

The clash came a day after a Taliban attack on a checkpoint left six border policemen dead in Arghistan, officials said.

About 200 police clashed with fighters during a search operation launched following Monday's attack, General Abdul Raziq, a police commander in the area, said.

In other violence, a British soldier was killed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand when his vehicle was hit by a suspected mine explosion, the British ministry of defence said late on Monday.

The death brought the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 to 94.

Schools torched

Closer to Afghanistan's capital, fighters set two mixed-sex schools on fire, the AFP news agency said quoting Afghan police.
Police blamed the attacks on the schools near the small town of Logar, 50km south of Kabul, on the "enemies of Afghanistan".
According to Abdul Majeed Latifi, Logar's deputy provincial police chief, at one school the assailants beat and tied up the superintendent and set fire to the eight-classroom building.
At roughly the same time, attackers set fire to a nearby school. The blaze was put out by residents and police and only the principal's office and one classroom were affected, Latifi said.
"This was also a mixed boys and girls school, where girls study in the morning and boys in the afternoon," he said.