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Central & South Asia

Taliban launch attacks across Afghanistan

Targets included Kabul international airport and checkpoints in city of Ghazni on first day of group's Spring offensive.

Last updated: 12 May 2014 12:38
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Taliban fighters stormed a government building in Jalalabad [AP]

Taliban fighters have opened fire and stormed a government building in eastern Afghanistan in the most serious of a string of attacks across the country, while in Kabul two rockets struck inside the grounds of the city's international airport but caused no damage.

Following the attack on Monday, police surrounded the provincial justice ministry building in the city of Jalabad and were engaging in sporadic exchanges of gunfire with the fighters inside, said General Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, the provincial police chief of Nangarhar province.

The attackers struck around 9am (06:00 GMT) as employees were arriving for work, Sherzad said, but it was unclear how many people may have been inside the building when the fighters took over.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack but provided no further details. Last week, the Taliban said they would launch their annual Spring offensive on May 12.

Also on Monday, in eastern Afghanistan, groups of fighters, including some on motorbikes, attacked police checkpoints, killing three people and wounding eight.

The attacks happened on the outskirts of the city of Ghazni in the province by the same name, said deputy provincial governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.

Two women and a policeman were killed, while two policemen and six civilians, including three children, were wounded, said Ahmadi.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Airport attack

In Jalalabad, attackers targeted a police vehicle and detonated a roadside bomb on Monday, wounding six people, including two policemen.

In the capital, Kabul, two rockets fired from an unknown location landed inside the perimeter of the city's international airport without causing any damage, Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

In addition, two rockets were fired toward the Bagram military airbase, 48km north of Kabul but also caused no damage, provincial police chief Masoom Farzahee said.

About 51,000 US-led NATO troops still deployed in Afghanistan are set to withdraw by December, ending a long and costly battle to defeat the rebels, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power.

A small number of US troops may stay on from next year on a training and counter-terrorism mission, but the Taliban warned that the insurgency would continue against even a few thousand US troops.

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