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Afghan officials say suicide assault repulsed

Taliban claims responsibility for attack on governor's office in Panjshir province that ends in several deaths.

Last Modified: 29 May 2013 07:01
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Afghan security forces have repulsed an attack by seven suicide bombers on the governor's office in the northeastern Panjshir province, officials say. 

Three of the bombers blew themselves up and four others were killed by police during Wednesday's attack, which also destroyed Kramuddin Karim's office and left one police officer dead.

Panjshir, an ethnically Tajik area northeast of Kabul, was a centre of anti-Taliban resistance during the group's 1996-2001 regime, and has been among the most peaceful provinces in Afghanistan since they were toppled.

The attack, which was claimed by Taliban fighters in a text message sent to the media, has heightened concerns about their ability to strike in districts where they have little presence or public support.

The raid started in the early hours of the morning and continued for about one hour.

Abdul Kabir Waseq, Karim's spokesman, said that an explosives-packed car that had not been detonated was also recovered from the scene.

The Afghan government immediately lauded the security forces for their response, with the interior ministry spokesman saying that they were "more capable than ever".

The attack took place in Panjshir province.

The attack came after a major assault on Kabul on Friday, when the Taliban launched a suicide and gun attack on an international compound in the city centre, triggering a battle that lasted several hours.

All four assailants, one policeman and two civilians died in that attack.

The effectiveness of Afghan security forces is crucial to the government's ability to defeat the Taliban insurgency as 100,000 NATO-led combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

The police, army and special forces are being trained up by the international coalition, but there are widespread fears that they will not be able to impose security after 12 years of war.

In Baghlan province, which adjoins Panjshir, a suicide bomber struck outside government buildings 10 days ago, killing 14 people including a local politician.

The fighters launched their annual "spring offensive" last month, pledging to use suicide blasts to inflict maximum casualties and warning Afghans working for President Hamid Karzai's government to distance themselves from the government.

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Source:
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