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Suicide Bombers, Gunmen Attack Afghan Police Training Center, Killing At Least 16

A victim wounded in the Gardez attack arrives at a local hospital.
A victim wounded in the Gardez attack arrives at a local hospital.

Afghan officials say suicide bombers and gunmen have launched an attack on a police training center in southeastern Afghanistan, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens of others.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the October 17 attack in Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province, bordering Pakistan.

The Interior Ministry said that a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training center before a number of attackers launched an assault against the facility.

Local health official Hedayatullah Hameedi said that the casualties included "women, students, and police."

Security officials told RFE/RL that provincial police chief Toryal Abdiani was among the dead.

At least two attackers were also killed by security forces, the ministry said.

A battle between security forces and the attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, was under way inside the police center, a statement said.

Allah Mir Bahram, a member of the Paktia provincial council, said that two car bombs blew up near the compound that also houses the provincial police headquarters.

"A group of gunmen have entered the compound and fighting is ongoing," he said.

Late on October 16, a suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s northwestern Kurram tribal area, part of which borders Paktia, killed 20 militants, intelligence officials said.

Officials said the site was a main center in the area for the Haqqani network, a group that has ties to the Afghan Taliban.

The Western-backed government in Kabul is struggling to beat back insurgents in the wake of the exit of most NATO forces in 2014.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently unveiled a strategy to try to defeat the militants, and officials said more than 3,000 additional U.S. troops are being sent to Afghanistan to reinforce the 11,000 already stationed there.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP