Author: Associated Press
Three people died in a similar attack on a second Afghan city in the east.
Using suicide bombings, gunfire and rockets, the militants attacked the
provincial governor’s compound, the intelligence department and the police
department in the eastern city of Gardez just before 11 am (0630GMT).
A suicide bombing in front of the city’s police station killed two police,
while a militant fired a rocket at the city’s intelligence department and
killed three officers, said Ghulam Dastagir, deputy provincial police chief
of Paktia province. A rocket was also fired at the governor’s house, he said.
A second suicide bomber at the police station was shot and killed, as were
three suicide bombers who tried to attack the governor’s house, Mangal said.
At least two bombers were clothed in women’s burqas when they were shot and
killed, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.
Militants tried to carry out attacks in a second eastern city ? Jalalabad ? at
around the same time. Mohammad Ayub Salangi, the provincial police chief,
said two suicide bombers on a motorbike and a police officer were killed
after a gun battle broke out.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed that 15 militants ? all in
suicide vests ? attacked government centers in Gardez. He said they were
carrying AK-47 assault rifles and rockets.
US forces responded to the attacks but it wasn’t immediately clear if they
were involved in any fighting, said spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias.
Taliban militants over the last year have launched several complex attacks,
which usually involve multiple suicide bombers and additional gunmen. They
have been launched in Kabul, the capital, and Kandahar, the Taliban’s
spiritual birthplace. Analysts say al-Qaida fighters provide the training
that help militants here to carry out such attacks.
The most recent complex attack took place in May in the eastern city of Khost,
when 11 Taliban suicide bombers struck government buildings, sparking
gunbattles with US and Afghan forces. Twenty people died in the attacks and
three American troops were wounded.
Khost, which is 40 miles east of Gardez, is a key area of operation for
militants associated with the insurgent network run by Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Taliban militants have stepped up attacks the last three years and now control
wide swaths of countryside in the country’s south and east. A record 68,000
US troops will be in the country by fall as the Pentagon increases its focus
on Afghanistan while drawing forces out of Iraq.
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