Suicide Bombers Attack Police HQ; Dozens Wounded And Killed

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded after up to five suicide bombers attacked a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.

The attack, claimed by the Taliban, began at around 6:30am local time when one bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the gate of the police headquarters in Gardez city, the capital of Paktia province, said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry.

Afghan security forces inspect the exterior of a car after a suicide bomb blast in Paktia Province, Afghanistan June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Samiullah Peiwand

Danish said the car bomber opened the way for other attackers to enter the compound.

Four more attackers stormed the gate after the blast, with at least two quickly killed by police. Danish put the toll at two police killed and five wounded, but doctors at the city hospital said at least five were killed and 30 people wounded, including 20 civilians.

Afghan security forces inspect the aftermath of a suicide bomb blast in Gardez, Paktia Province, Afghanistan June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Samiullah Peiwand

He said three policemen had been wounded in the attack. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters are inside the police compound battling police.

One of the five attackers was still holding out more than five hours after the coordinated assault began, the regional police commander, Asadullah Shirzad, said.

It took Afghan security forces most of the day to kill the last gunmen, who had barricaded themselves in a kitchen in the compound, according to police, Reuters reports.

“The first attacker blew up his vehicle at the entrance to the headquarters, opening the way for two others who opened fire on security forces, and another suicide bomber was shot dead,” he said.

Insurgent groups like the Taliban and Islamic State have launched a string of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks.

Back in May, the Taliban killed nearly 100 people in an attack on the diplomatic quarter of Kabul as the group stepped up its traditional spring/summer offensive.

H/T: The Guardian