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Taliban Fighters Raid Govt. Building in Afghan East, Killing 7 People

Afghan policemen, U.S. and Afghan soldiers on alert near the police traffic department building, which was under attack by insurgents in Khost, eastern of Afghanistan, May 22, 2011

Afghan authorities say Taliban suicide bombers disguised as border policemen have attacked a local government office in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven Afghans.

Officials say the four Taliban fighters were armed with rifles and raided the traffic police building in Khost city before dawn Sunday, triggering a gun battle with Afghan security forces backed by coalition troops. Afghan soldiers initially surrounded the building and stormed it hours later as a fire burned inside.

Authorities say two of the attackers blew themselves up during the siege, while Afghan security personnel shot dead the other two. The Taliban fighters killed six Afghan security personnel and a gardener. Several people were wounded, including five Afghan policemen and one civilian.

Afghan troops also defused explosives found in a car near the government compound.

The Taliban raid is the latest in a series of recent brazen attacks by the militant group on Afghan government and security compounds. A Taliban suicide bomber slipped into Kabul's main military hospital on Saturday and blew himself up inside a cafeteria, killing six Afghan medical students and wounding more than 20 other people.

Meanwhile, a series of insurgent bomb attacks in other parts of Afghanistan beginning late Saturday killed at least six people.

One blast killed three Afghan policemen in the western province of Herat, while another killed two women who were riding on a tractor in the southern province of Zabul.

A third bomb explosion killed a NATO soldier in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday.

A fourth roadside bombing wounded at least two policemen in the southern city of Kandahar.

Afghan security forces are set to take increasing responsibility for security as coalition forces withdraw from the country in a process that starts in July, but is not due to be completed until 2014.

In another development, NATO says a combined Afghan and coalition force killed one insurgent and detained two others in a security operation in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province on Saturday.