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Multiple Gun-And-Bomb Afghanistan Attacks Kill Over 70

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Police chief for southeastern Paktia province also among dead, says deputy governor.

More than 70 people, including a provincial police chief were killed in multiple gun-and-bomb attacks in southeastern Paktia and central Ghazni provinces on Tuesday, officials said.

The initial twin attack in Paktia took place when the militants attacked the regional police headquarters at around 9.00 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) in the province, less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from capital Kabul.

The militants used a truck and an armored vehicle stolen from security forces to carry out the bomb attack that left 41 people, including police chief Brig. Gen. Toryali Abdiani dead and more than 100 wounded, Deputy Governor Hidayatullah Hamidi told Anadolu Agency.

According to officials, a large number of Paktia University students and civilians, who were present near the police headquarters for collecting their identity cards and passports, were also among the victims.

Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Murad Ali Murad told journalists in Kabul that 21 civilians were among the dead in Paktia blasts.

In a statement, the Ministry of Interior in Kabul said seven militants took part in the attack; two carried out the bombings and the rest of the attackers engaged with the police in armed clashes.

Special police units later overpowered the remaining five attackers, the statement added. 

Bordering Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal agency, Paktia province of Afghanistan is the birthplace of the Taliban’s Haqqani Network. 

Ghazni attack 

In a statement published on Twitter, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, claimed the Paktia attack and said the special police unit was the prime target; up to 450 policemen were living in the headquarters at the time of the attack.

The Taliban carried out another attack in central Ghazni province, also less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the capital. 

In a statement released on Tuesday, the provincial administration said militants blew up an armored vehicle at the entrance of Andar district administration in the wee hours, and later engaged in a gunfight. 

Up to 30 people, mostly policemen, were killed, the statement added.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed gave a higher death toll, claiming 44 policemen had been killed in the Ghazni attack while large cache of arms and ammunition were also seized.

The deputy interior minister said the enemies and their foreign backers were under immense pressure from the Afghan and allied forces, which was why they had chosen this time for such attacks when efforts for peace talks were gaining momentum.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack.

"We learned with sorrow that police officers and civilians were killed and many more were wounded in an attack perpetrated against a police-training center in Paktia province in east of Afghanistan," the ministry said in a statement. 

Attacks amid drone strikes 

"We condemn this terrorist attack, wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, speedy recovery to the wounded, and convey our condolences to the brotherly government and people of Afghanistan," the statement added.

Pakistani Foreign Office also condemned the attack and expressed grief over the loss of lives.

“We are deeply saddened and grieved at the loss of precious lives in the dastardly attack. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this brutal terrorist attack and to the Government and the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement.

The latest attacks in Afghanistan come after several U.S. drone strikes were reported in the country and neighboring Pakistan.

At least two drone strikes were carried out in eastern Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan's restive tribal agency Tuesday. 

Hazrat Hussain, spokesman for the police headquarters in Jalalabad city, told Anadolu Agency that one of the strikes had killed 11 suspected members of the Lashkar-e-Islam faction based in Afghanistan's Achin district. This was followed by another drone strike in the Nazyano district where 12 suspected pro-Daesh militants were killed, Hussain added.

According to Pakistani daily Express Tribune, a drone strike on a house in Lower Kurram Agency near the Pak-Afghan border on Monday killed at least five suspected militants.

One of the slain suspect was identified by local officials as militant commander Sangeen Wali Shah, the daily added.

 

 

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