ISLAMABAD - A late-night Taliban attack on an eastern provincial police headquarters left five insurgents dead and up to 10 policemen wounded, Afghan officials said Monday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said security forces captured one of the attackers alive in the terrorist raid in the city of Jalalabad, near the Pakistani border.
The attack began shortly before midnight with a suicide bomber detonating his explosives-packed vehicle near the entrance gate, clearing the way for several heavily armed insurgents to force their way into the premises.
Provincial officials said Afghan forces inside the compound engaged the assailants, sparking a gunfight that continued into Monday morning and ending when security forces overpowered the attackers.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said four of the Islamist group's men took part in the assault. In a statement emailed to reporters, he claimed an "important meeting" of senior police and counterterrorism local as foreign officials was underway at the police headquarters at the time of the attack.
He gave a much higher figure of Afghan security personnel killed or wounded in the raid. But the insurgent group often exaggerates casualties and other details about such incidents of violence.
Ghani praises 'guardians'
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, while addressing security forces in western Herat province during a visit on Monday, said insurgent attacks particularly in northern Afghanistan are aimed at disrupting implementation of economic projects.
He praised the national forces as "the guardians of national unity" for making concerted efforts to eliminate insurgents. Ghani went on to say that "the enemy wants us weak, but the government will only negotiate with the Taliban from a position of strength."
There no signs of any dialogue taking place between the Taliban and the Afghan government to end the violent insurgent campaign. Analysts say the increase in Taliban attacks could be an attempt to strengthen its bargaining position if and when the group decides to come to the table.