Six members of the Afghan security forces died yesterday when the Taliban stormed a traffic police office and two suicide bombers detonated themselves, triggering a nine-hour standoff.
The attack in restive Khost Province, which borders Pakistan in the east, came the day after six medical students were killed and 23 wounded when a suicide bomber struck at Kabul’s heavily guarded main military hospital.
It was the latest in a wave of breaches at supposedly secure Afghan government sites as the annual spring fighting season gets under way in Afghanistan.
Four suicide bombers dressed in border police uniforms broke into the traffic police headquarters in Khost City at about 4:30am.
There was then sporadic gunfire for hours as troops tried to control the situation from outside before Afghan and foreign forces eventually stormed the building, bringing the fighting to a close around 1:30pm.
Khost Governor Abdul Jabar Naimi told a news conference that four Afghan police and two Afghan soldiers had been killed, while five others, all members of the security forces bar one government employee, were wounded.
“All four attackers who were also wearing suicide vests have been killed,” Naimi said. “Two of the attackers managed to detonate themselves, but the two others were gunned down.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its Web site.
Deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Yaqub had said earlier that the four attackers had got into the building while it was vacant except for the police guards and officers on duty.
Yaqub said the attackers were dressed in border police uniforms and armed with suicide vests and AK-47 rifles.
At least six people, including two women, were killed in other incidents across Afghanistan late on Saturday and yesterday.
Three Afghan policemen were killed and three wounded late on Saturday when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in the western province of Herat, provincial police spokesman Noor Khan Nikzad said.