The Latest: Afghan official: Drone strikes kill 35 Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan where the Taliban have staged several attacks targeting police across the country (all times local):
An Afghan official says drone strikes have killed 35 Taliban fighters in the country’s east, near the border with Pakistan.
Abdullah Asrat, spokesman for the governor of Paktia province, says drones fired missiles at four locations in Anzarki Kandaw on Tuesday, killing the insurgents and wounding 15 others.
Asrat says a commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Abu Bakr, and other senior insurgents were among the dead. He did not provide further details.
Mujeeb Rahman Chamkani, a lawmaker from Paktia, says the drones struck as the Taliban were collecting the bodies of 20 militants killed in a strike Monday on a militant base near the border.
Pakistani intelligence officials say the drone strike hit a militant compound on the Pakistani side of the border, but Pakistan later denied any such strike on its territory. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the two accounts.
Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister says the Taliban have killed 71 people in attacks in Ghazni and Paktia province.
The official, Murad Ali Murad, told a press conference in Kabul that the attacks on Tuesday were the “biggest terrorist attack this year.”
He says in one of the attacks, in southern Paktia province, 41 people — 21 policemen and 20 civilians — were killed when the Taliban targeted a police compound in the provincial capital of Gardez with two suicide car bombs. Scores were also wounded — 48 policemen and 110.
The provincial police chief was among those killed in the Paktia attack.
Murad says that in the attack in Andar district in Ghazni province, 25 policemen were killed and also five civilians. At least 15 people were wounded, including 10 policemen.
Despite the staggering numbers, Murad said Afghan forces are confident in their “readiness to fight terrorists and eliminate them from Afghanistan.
An Afghan official has raised the death toll from a Taliban attack in the country’s south, saying 15 policemen and five civilians were killed in Ghazni province.
The insurgents stormed a security compound in Andar district, using a suicide car on Tuesday.
Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial, says the attack lasted nine hours and also left 24 policemen and 20 civilians wounded. Noori says that by the time the attack was repelled, there were 13 bodies of Taliban fighters on the ground.
It was one in a wave of attacks by the Taliban that targeted police across Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior says a Taliban attack on a police compound in eastern Paktia province that began earlier in the day is over.
The statement says Tuesday’s attack began with two suicide car bombings. The vehicles were packed with explosives when the Taliban targeted the facility in Gardez, the Paktia provincial capital.
It says that after the two cars blew up, five attackers with suicide belts tried to storm the compound. Afghan security forces “killed all five terrorist.”
The statement also says the attack killed the provincial chief of police, Toryalai Abdyani, and killed and wounded a number of others. It says detailed casualty figures would be released later.
An Afghan health official says a Taliban attack on a police training center in the country’s eastern Paktia province has killed at least 14 people, including civilians.
Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majroo says that dozens were also wounded in the attack on Tuesday in Gardez, the provincial capital. He says the city hospital reported receiving 130 wounded in the attack, which included a suicide bombing.
Hamza Aqmhal, a student at the Paktia University, told The Associated Press that he heard a very powerful blast. He says it shattered glass and broke all the windows at the building he was in. He says the university is about 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) from the training academy.
Aqmhal says he was slightly injured by the glass.
A lawmaker from Paktia, Mujeeb Rahman Chamkni, says the provincial chief police, Toryalai Abdyani, and several of his staff were among those killed in the attack.
He says most of the casualties are civilians who had come to the center, which also serves a government passport department.
Reports from Gardez say the attack there is still underway.
Afghan officials say Taliban attacks in the country’s south, west and east have killed at least 10 policemen.
In southern Ghazni province, the insurgents stormed a security compound, using a suicide car, and killed at least seven policemen. Provincial chief police, Mohammad Zaman, says the attack in Andar district early on Tuesday morning triggered several hours of heavy fighting until the attackers were repelled.
Zaman says the district compound has been destroyed.
In western Farah province, police chief Abdul Maruf Fulad says the Taliban attacked a government compound in Shibkho district, killing three policemen.
The Interior Ministry says a militant attack, including a suicide car bombing is underway in eastern Paktia province’s capital, Gardez, where insurgents targeted a police training center.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for all three attacks.