Afghan bombers try to 'kill everyone with authority' in district

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Insurgents made a determined attempt to "kill everyone with authority" in a district in eastern Afghanistan, storming government offices with a team of suicide bombers. The attackers were repelled, but 11 people were killed, Afghan officials said Saturday.

The bombers targeted the compounds of the governor, the police chief and other locales in an assault beginning early Friday, officials in Nuristan province’s Kamdesh district said. At least five civilians, four of them women, and six police officers were killed, provincial authorities said.

After the attacks began with rocket fire, fighting raged for about 12 hours, Afghan officials said.

"They wanted to kill everyone with authority in the district," said the provincial governor, Mohammad Tamim Nuristani.

Eastern Afghanistan has emerged as the focal point of combat during this “fighting season,” which generally coincides with warmer temperatures. This year marks the last major American military offensive in advance of a draw-down that is to bring U.S. troop strength down to about 68,000 in September — from a high of more than 100,000.

In Nuristan, the governor said some of the attackers were thought to have crossed over from Pakistan, an assertion likely to inflame border tensions between the two nations. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have accused each other of allowing combatants to cross the frontier and stage attacks.

Afghan officials said up to three dozen insurgents were killed in the fighting in Nuristan. The U.S. Embassy and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force expressed condolences for the civilian deaths in the attacks.

Elsewhere in eastern Afghanistan, officials in Paktia province said a bomb went off outside a bank in the provincial capital, Gardez, on Saturday, killing two police officers.

The NATO force also reported the deaths of five civilians in two roadside bombings in Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan.

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-- Hashmat Baktash

 
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