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Central & South Asia
Taliban clash with Afghan forces
Two armed men killed in attack on building in capital of eastern Paktia province.
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2009 14:11 GMT

Two Taliban fighters have been killed in a clash with Afghan police near a police station in eastern Paktia province, officials have said.

The Taliban fighters launched an assault on the police headquarters in Gardez, the provincial capital, shortly before 10am local time (05:30 GMT) on Monday and opened fire on security forces, Rahullah Samon, a provincial government spokesman, said.

General Azizuddin Wardak, the provincial police chief, told AFP: "It's now over. They were two people and both have been killed." 

The fighters were armed with rifles, rocket launchers and grenades, and were wearing explosive vests, he said.

Their bombs detonated under police fire, he said. He did not give further details.

Taliban intercepted

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said the fighting lasted for at least two hours.

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"Five Taliban suicide bombers seized a building near police headquarters in the city of Gardez with the aim of storming that headquarters to inflict heavy casualties on the policemen. They were intercepted," he said.

"A spokesperson of the governor of Paktia told Al Jazeera that two Taliban suicide bombers were killed and that 12 [people] were injured - four policemen and the rest civilians, and that an Isaf (Nato-led International Security Assistance Force) soldier was also injured.

"A spokesperson of the Taliban told Al Jazeera that the aim of this operation was to tell the international community to 'stop thinking about parliament and the Afghan government, because you have to bear in mind that we are the ones to call the shots in Afghanistan'." 

Eastern Afghanistan has seen some of the worst violence by the Taliban, which is targeting the Western-backed government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and 113,000 US and Nato troops in the country.

Barack Obama, the US president, and Nato allies have pledged to deploy an extra 37,000 troops to Afghanistan, which will take the total number of foreign troops in the country to 150,000.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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