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9 killed in ongoing attacks in eastern Afghanistan

A file photo of Afghan commandos (by AFP)

Militants have staged a multi-pronged attack on a government building in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least nine people in the assault.

The militants detonated bombs and then stormed the government building in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, the capital of restive Nangarhar Province, which borders Pakistan.

There were two explosions near the city’s directorate of finance, provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told the media, adding that “a number of attackers” had entered the building.

At least nine people, including a child, have been killed and 36 wounded, public health officials said.

Earlier, health department officials in the city said hospitals had received at least four dead bodies and 20 wounded people.

This undated image purportedly shows Afghan military forces monitoring the clashes with Taliban militants n Kunduz.

In the Sunday attack, one attacker appeared to have blown himself up at the gate of the building, which is located in the center of the city, allowing the other assailants to enter, Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council, told Reuters.

More explosions were then heard from inside the building, he added.

Qaderi said at least four attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns still appeared to be fighting police.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility; however, some areas of the province are a stronghold of the Daesh terrorist group. But Taliban militants are also active there.

Attack in Kunduz

Separately, Taliban militants have killed at least eight government forces during clashes in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz Province.

Police said dozens of militants stormed the quarters of security forces in Dasht-e-Archi district in Kunduz.

“Eight army soldiers and six of Taliban’s Red Unit members were killed, and four other Taliban were wounded,” read a statement by the 303 Pamir Police Zone on Saturday.

“The government security forces were able to push back the insurgents attack after several hours of clashes,” it added, without offering further details.

The Taliban militant group itself claimed responsibility for the attack.

The militants have increased their attacks over the past weeks with the beginning of their so-called annual spring offensive.

In Afghanistan’s western province of Farah, more than 30 members of security forces were killed in separate assaults by the Taliban in the past days.

Violence is expected to increase even further once the Taliban’s opium harvest, which funds the militants, is completed in the coming weeks.

In 2001, US-led forces invaded Afghanistan and toppled a Taliban regime that was in power then. Since then, the group has launched a militancy and has been operating nonstop, targeting foreign and Afghan forces as well as civilians.

In addition to the Taliban militants, Daesh militants, who have sustained heavy losses in Iraq and Syria, have also gained a foothold in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government is scheduled to hold long-delayed legislative elections in October, causing added reason for concern, as the Taliban would likely target election centers. They already have attacked a number of registration centers.

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