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Dozens Killed in Suicide Attacks on Afghan Police Headquarters

Afghan security forces inspect the exterior of a car after a suicide bomb blast in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, on June 18.Afghan security forces inspect the exterior of a car after a suicide bomb blast in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, on June 18.

Dozens of people were killed or wounded when as many as five suicide bombers attacked a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.

The attacks, claimed by the Taliban, began around 6:30 am (0200 GMT) when one bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the gate of the police headquarters in Gardez city, capital of Paktia Province, said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Reuters reported.

Four more attackers stormed the gate after the blast, with at least two quickly killed by police. The others held out against Afghan special forces that had responded to the attack, he said.

Danish put the toll at two police killed and five wounded.

However, doctors at the city hospital said they had received the bodies of at least five police, as well as at least 30 wounded people, including 20 civilians.

The Taliban claimed the attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid reporting more than 100 police were killed and wounded. The militant group often exaggerates casualty numbers in attacks against government targets and security forces.

Insurgent groups like the Taliban and the self-styled Islamic State terrorists have launched a string of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks.

IS claimed a deadly attack on a mosque in Kabul on Thursday.

A massive truck bombing and later suicide attacks left hundreds dead and wounded at the end of May and beginning of June, raising political tensions for the Afghan government, which is struggling to combat rising violence and corruption.

Thousands of international troops remain in the country to train and assist Afghan security forces as well as carry out counterterrorism missions.

American defense officials say in coming weeks they will decide whether to send between 3,000 and 5,000 more troops as requested by military commanders.

 

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