World / Middle East

24 killed as Afghan Taliban targets gov't office buildings

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-04 15:36

GHAZNI - At least 24 people were killed while 150 others wounded after Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen carried out a coordinated attack on gov't office buildings in Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province early Thursday morning, sources said.

The killed included 19 militants, 3 police and two personnel of the National Directorate for Security (NDS) or intelligence service, according to deputy provincial police chief Assadullah Ansafi.

"The attack began at around 05:00 am after a suicide truck bomb was detonated by first group of militants in front of NDS office. The blast enabled second batch of the attacker to take position in nearby buildings. A heavy gunfight took place after the blast," a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

He said 16 militants were shot dead by security forces and two car bombs also occurred after the truck bombing during the clashes.

The wounded people included 136 civilians and 14 security forces. More than 50 wounded were in critical condition, Ansafi said, adding the number of the casualties may go up.

The gunfight lasted for more than five hours.

Several buildings and vehicles were destroyed as a result of the blasts as numerous government agencies including information and culture department, the provincial police station, fast reaction police forces' facilities and other entities are located in one area which came under attack in the city, 120 km south of Afghan capital of Kabul.

Majority of the injured people got wounded as a result of shuttered classes while many others received bomb shrapnel, according to medical sources.

Shortly after the attack, Zabiullha Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mujahid said in his twitter account that the militants targeted the provincial police station, intelligence office and the fast reaction police forces' facilities with three car bombs. He said several security forces were killed and wounded in the attack.

The Taliban insurgent group has intensified attacks over the past couple of months as the NATO and U.S. forces are withdrawing the country. The war-torn country is due to take over the responsibility for its own security from NATO-led troops by the end of year.

More than 44,000 NATO-led coalition troops, down from the peak of 130,000 in 2010, are stationed in Afghanistan. Some 30,700 of them are Americans and the United States plans to trim its forces to less than 10,000 next year.

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