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Dozens Killed In Afghan Suicide, Gun Attacks

Afghan men receive treatment at a hospital after suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a provincial Afghan police headquarters in Gardez on October 17.

Afghan officials say two separate suicide and gun attacks on government forces have left at least 35 people dead.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the October 17 assault on a police compound in the southeastern city of Gardez, capital of Paktia Province bordering Pakistan, in which at least 20 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded.

Fifteen security officials were also reported killed and 12 others wounded in an attack blamed on the Taliban in the neighboring province of Ghazni.

The Interior Ministry said that two suicide bombers detonated cars filled with explosives outside the provincial police headquarters and its attached training center in Gardez, before gunmen launched an assault against the facilities.

The ministry said the hourslong fighting ended when all five gunmen were killed by security forces.

However, a senior police official said there were 11 attackers in total.

Deputy Interior Minister Murad Ali Murad said that the dead included 21 police officers, including provincial police chief Toryal Abdiani, and 20 civilians.

Following the attack, Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and acting Interior Minister Wais Barmak arrived in Paktia province.

Afghan police officers who were injured in the attack receive medical treatment at a hospital in Paktia.
Afghan police officers who were injured in the attack receive medical treatment at a hospital in Paktia.

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.

In Ghazni Province, officials said Taliban militants detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near a security compound in Andar district early on October 17 while others stormed the building.

Provincial council member Amanullah Kamran said the attack targeted the premises of the district governor and police headquarters.

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, AP, and dpa