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Taliban Attack on Afghan Bank Kills 40


Afghan locals clears the debris near damaged vehicles outside the bank which was attacked on Saturday by Taliban insurgents in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, February 20, 2011

Afghan locals clears the debris near damaged vehicles outside the bank which was attacked on Saturday by Taliban insurgents in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, February 20, 2011

Afghan officials say a suicide attack on a Jalalabad bank has killed at least 40 people and wounded 73 others.

Hospital officials increased the death toll on Sunday.

On Saturday, seven militants dressed in security uniforms and armed with guns and suicide vests stormed a branch of Kabul Bank. Authorities say some of the attackers detonated their vests while others opened fire. Security forces fought the attackers for several hours.

The bank handles salaries for the Afghan police and military. Officials say the casualties included civilians as well as security personnel who were collecting their wages.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Separately, NATO says it is investigating claims that coalition forces killed 63 people, most of them civilians, during ground and air assaults in the last week.

The governor of eastern Kunar province, Fazlullah Wahidi, said Sunday the NATO raids took place in the remote Ghazi Abad district. Wahidi said the majority of those killed were civilians, including 20 women.

NATO officials say they have video showing that coalition forces killed 36 armed men in a remote valley in Kunar province. But, a spokesman said, NATO had no reports of civilian deaths.

The coalition says it has sent investigators to the rugged area to look into the claim.

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

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