KHOST CITY (PAN): Four attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, were among 10 people killed in a protracted gunbattle during an attack on a government building in southeastern Khost province on Sunday, the governor said.
A number of suicide attackers, carrying small and heavy weapons, stormed the provincial traffic department building in the pre-dawn assault. The clash erupted at about 4:30am and stretched into the afternoon, killing four attackers, five security officials and a civilian,
Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi told journalists the clash lasted10 hours, with the assailants firing at security forces from the building. One suicide bomber blew himself up and the three others were shot dead by security personnel, the governor said.
Three policemen, two soldiers and a civilian were killed and another three policemen and an army officer injured by the attackers, who wore border police uniforms. After crossing the first security checkpoint, they put on civilian clothes and then wore again police uniforms before entering the traffic department.
“They came to the department in a car, carrying six bags full of explosives, which were later defused by foreign troops,” said the governor, who praised security officials for their courage in protecting civilian lives.
As the clash ended, the situation returned to normal, with people getting back to work, but fear was still in their mind. Samiullah, a resident, said the government should put in place tight security arrangements at entrance to the city to prevent militant attacks.
A shopkeeper in Khost City, Wali Rahman, said such attacks had a bad impact on their businesses.
As usual, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the organised assault. They said a number of fighters took part in the attack. Six foreign and four Afghan soldiers were killed and several others wounded, said rebel spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Taliban have lately stepped up attacks on government buildings. Several security officials and civilians have been killed in recent attacks on government buildings in Nangarhar, Kabul and Kandahar provinces.