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Afghan Forces Foil Commando-Style Raid

KABUL (Reuters) -- Afghanistan's security forces killed five suicide bombers who planned to carry out a commando-style raid on government buildings today in southeastern Paktika Province, the Interior Ministry said.

The security forces shot dead three of the would-be attackers before they were able to conduct a raid in the remote Barmal district, which lies near the border with Pakistan.

The other two fled to a shop and were killed there after putting up brief resistance.

Taliban guerrillas have increasingly used the tactic of coordinated commando-style strikes, which usually feature several suicide bombers and gunmen seizing buildings in towns across southern Afghanistan as well as the capital, Kabul.

In the latest such incident, more than 30 people, including police officers and civilians, were killed late on March 13 in a series of attacks in the southern city of Kandahar.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the strikes in Kandahar, saying they were a preemptive response to an expected offensive by U.S. and NATO-led forces in the city, birthplace of the Taliban movement.

There are more than 120,000 NATO-led troops stationed in Afghanistan to fight the resurgent Taliban, rising to about 150,000 this year after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a "surge" of extra forces in December.