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Suicide Bombers Strike in Eastern Afghanistan

  • VOA News

An Afghan policeman takes position at the site of a suicide attack in Jalalabad, March 26, 2012.

An Afghan policeman takes position at the site of a suicide attack in Jalalabad, March 26, 2012.

Afghan officials say a group of suicide bombers has attacked a police base in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least five officers.

Police say one of the attackers set off a car bomb, early Tuesday, at the entrance to the police headquarters. At least two others then blew themselves up inside the facility. Several other militants were killed in an hour-long gun battle.

Map of Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Map of Jalalabad, Afghanistan

The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which also left at least four police wounded.

Jaweed Jan, a resident of Jalalabad says he was among those hurt.

"I was driving my car and suddenly I heard an explosion. I got a wound in my hand," he said. "A few minutes after the explosion I saw some insurgents walk out of a car and attack police soldiers. Then the gunfire started."

The attack came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a second round of talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tuesday. Kerry is making a brief, unscheduled visit to Kabul, in part to repair strained relations with the Afghan government.

At a news conference late Monday, Kerry said Washington is "on the same page" with its Afghan allies when it comes to peace talks with the Taliban.

Earlier this month, President Karzai made headlines when he suggested that Washington and the Taliban were colluding against Afghanistan. Karzai insisted his comments were misinterpreted.

U.S. and Afghan leaders are discussing the U.S. role in the country as the international military operation winds down. Most foreign troops are to leave by the end of 2014.

Australia, an original member of the U.S.-led coalition, said Tuesday most of its 1,550 troops will come home by the end of the year, when a major international military base in Uruzgan province closes.

Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith describes the move as "natural," saying it was made after consultations with Afghan authorities.

"If we were not confident that transition would occur in Uruzgan by the end of this year then this decision would not have been made. It is a necessary and logical and natural consequence of transition being effective in Uruzgan by the end of this year," he said.

Australia has lost 39 troops in the conflict.
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