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Taliban Attack Provincial Government Near Kabul


Afghan officials say two militants were killed and three police officers wounded in a Taliban-launched assault on a provincial capital south of Kabul, just 10 days before nationwide elections.

The government spokesman for Logar province said six militants attacked government buildings with rockets and gunfire Monday in Pul-i-Alam. A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials say one militant detonated a suicide vest, but only killed himself, and another died in a gunbattle with police. Earlier, the Afghan Interior Ministry said at least one police officer was killed.

The remaining militants have taken up positions in a building and are surrounded by Afghan security forces. Officials say international forces are providing support.

On Sunday, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan and the country's Independent Human Rights Commission issued a joint report saying insecurity is posing a great threat to Afghanistan's August 20 presidential elections.

Last month, militants tried to carry out simultaneous attacks in Khost with suicide bombers targeting government and police buildings. Taliban militants strapped with explosives and armed with rifles also launched assaults on Afghan and U.S. facilities in Gardez and Jalalabad.

The last few weeks also have been especially deadly for Western troops in Afghanistan. Officials blame Taliban insurgents, who have stepped up attacks across the country to discourage voters from taking part in the election.

At least 75 troops from the U.S. and other international forces were killed in July alone, making it the deadliest month for the forces since a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban in late 2001.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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