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Afghan officials say an Afghan soldier and a female civilian were killed when hundreds of suspected Taliban militants launched simultaneous attacks on the eastern province of Konar, along the border with Pakistan.

Provincial officials said militants attacked five districts, including Shigal, Dangam, Marawara, Watapur, and Manogay, before dawn.

The German dpa news agency quoted provincial police chief Ewaz Mohammad Naziri as saying Pakistani fighters had crossed the border to join the Taliban in the attacks, which he said lasted several hours.

Naziri, who claimed dozens of militants were killed, said the insurgents escaped into the mountains after Afghan security forces and foreign troops entered the area.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called the attack the largest in Konar so far this year.

Based on reporting by dpa and "The New York Times"