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Taliban Attacks East Afghan Government, Seven Killed


The Paktika Province administration center in Sharana

The Paktika Province administration center in Sharana

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry says three police officers and four civilians were killed when a group of suicide bombers stormed a government building in southeastern Afghanistan.

The suicide bombers seized a building housing the directorate of communications in Sharana, the capital of Paktika Province, after killing a police guard at the gate.

A ministry statement said police surrounded the building and two police officers were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said that after a siege that lasted for hours, all the bombers were killed.

It was not immediately clear how the four civilians died.

The Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attack.

In other news, police say at least 60 Taliban insurgents were killed and more than 100 wounded in an operation by Afghan and foreign forces in northern Afghanistan.

The deputy police chief of the North Zone Command, General Mohammad Ali Razayee, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that about "60 to 70 insurgents, including Taliban and foreigners, have been killed and around 110 wounded."

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the operation, but put the death toll at seven insurgents.

ISAF said in a statement that a further 30 insurgents were arrested in the operation late on January 9.

with agency reports
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