Deadly attacks hit Afghan city

At least five killed and 34 wounded after armed men launch multiple attacks in western city of Herat.

    Attacks have taken place in cities across Afghanistan in recent weeks [AFP]

    At least five people have been killed and 34 injured after armed men launched multiple attacks in the western Afghan city of Herat.

    Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said an Afghan soldier and four civilians were killed in Monday's violence. At least 27 other civilians were wounded, along with four Afghan troops and three police officers.

    The co-ordinated attacks targeted a building of the provincial reconstruction team of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and a busy crossroads about two kilometres from the base. 

    Dawood Saba, the governor of Herat province, said a suicide bomber in a small truck blew himself up at the entrance of the Italian-run base and that between two and four other attackers were fighting from within a building nearby.

    Gunfire continued around the base for several hours but subsided by later on Monday.

    Critical condition

    Ghulam Sayed Rashid, the Herat provincial health director, said: "Among the wounded we have four children and a woman. The rest are men. Three of the injured are in critical condition."

    The defence minister of Italy, which has about 3,880 troops serving in Afghanistan, the majority of them in the west, said five Italian troops had been wounded.

    Reuters news agency quoted a witness as saying that he saw the bodies of several troops wearing foreign uniforms and smoke rising near the Italian-run joint civilian and military provincial reconstruction team (PRT) base.

    The blasts came just weeks before the usually peaceful historic city is to become one of the first places in the war-torn country to transition from NATO to Afghan security control nearly 10 years after the 2001 US-led invasion.

    Taliban 'responsible'

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi telling the AFP news agency: "Our mujahideen are working on the operation in Herat."

    Television pictures from Herat showed at least two vehicles destroyed by explosions and troops scurrying for cover.

    Violence has spiked across Afghanistan since the Taliban announced at the beginning of May the start of a spring offensive.

    Attacks have taken place in cities across the country in recent weeks, with the government and security forces and foreign military targets singled out in increasingly bold assaults.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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