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Taliban Militants Attack Government Offices In Helmand

Taliban fighters have attacked government offices in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, where the militants have been gaining territory in battles against government forces in recent months.

A spokesman for Helmand's governor said gunmen attacked the police headquarters and intelligence agency offices early on March 9 in Gereshk, about 20 kilometers north of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

The spokesman said security forces repelled the attack on the intelligence facility.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, in which suicide bombers struck inside the police compound.

Jabbar Karaman, a lawmaker appointed by President Ashraf Ghani to investigate the situation in Helmand, said at least seven attackers were killed in the battle with police.

He said three police officers were also killed and an unconfirmed number of civilians were caught in the crossfire.

Fighting has raged across Helmand, a major poppy-growing region, for the past three months, with Taliban forcing government troops to withdraw in late February from the districts of Nawzad and Musa Qala to the north of Gereshk and Lashkar Gah.

There also has been fighting among militnat factions for control of smuggling routes.

U.S. and British forces saw heavy fighting in Helmand at the height of the 15-year war.

Based on reporting by AP