Mon, Feb 21, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Toll from Taliban attack on Afghan bank climbs to 40

AFP and Reuters, JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN

An Afghan woman walks toward her home on Saturday after attending a sewing program provided by the US Marines 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines Regiment, Female Engagement Team unit in Gamser, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Marines have deployed about 40 women soldiers in Helmand and Nimruz provincese to interact specifically with Afghan civilians, especially women and children.

Photo: AFP

The death toll from a Taliban attack on a bank in eastern Afghanistan has risen to 40, officials said yesterday, with more than 70 others injured.

Seven Taliban suicide bombers armed with machine guns and grenades stormed a branch of Kabul Bank on Saturday morning in Jalalabad, initiating a standoff with security forces that lasted several hours before they detonated their devices.

Nangarhar Province Governor Gul Agha Sherzai yesterday said 40 people had been killed, many of them Afghan police and soldiers.

The death toll had previously been given as 18.

The bank may have been chosen as a target because it handles salaries for the Afghan security forces. Civilians and bank workers were among the dead and wounded, officials and eyewitness said.

The deputy provincial police chief and provincial criminal investigation police chief were among the wounded, provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said. They were taken to Bagram, the main base for US-led forces, for treatment, he said.

The incident was the third major attack in a week targeting police in Afghanistan.

One man who was in the bank when the attack started, said the gunmen were “killing indiscriminately.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the militant Islamists were responsible.

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