News ID: 202570
Published: 1156 GMT October 17, 2017

Terrorist attacks kill over 70 people in Afghanistan

Terrorist attacks kill over 70 people in Afghanistan
Afghan security personnel walk at the site of a suicide attack at a police training center in Gardez, capital of Paktia Province, on October 17, 2017.

Two separate suicide and gun attacks on police and soldiers in Afghanistan left at least 71 dead and nearly 170 wounded Tuesday in the latest devastating assaults on beleaguered security forces.

The Taliban claimed the more deadly of the two assaults, a coordinated attack on police in the southeast city of Gardez in Paktia Province, AFP reported.

That assault killed 41 people and injured 158, according to the Interior Ministry, and left hospital officials calling for blood donations. There were desperate scenes as relatives queued for news of loved ones after the hours-long battle.

A separate ambush blamed on the Taliban in the neighboring province of Ghazni killed 25 security officials and five civilians with 10 wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

Afghanistan's Army and police, on the frontline against the Taliban since foreign combat forces pulled back in December 2014, have suffered shocking casualties over the past year. Their ranks are beset by corruption and desertion.

"The hospital is overwhelmed and we call on people to donate blood," said Shir Mohammad Karimi, deputy health director in Gardez, who put the number of wounded there at more than 200.

Doctors and nurses rushed to attend to the wounded women, children and police filling the corridors where some bodies also lay.

The attack, claimed by the Taliban in a tweet, began when two suicide bombers driving an explosives-laden truck and a Humvee blew them up near the training center, which is close to the Paktia police headquarters.

The blasts flattened a building and enabled gunmen to force their way inside the compound, according to officials and the Interior Ministry.

"Most of the victims are civilians who had come to the police headquarters to get their passports and national IDs," a statement from the Paktia governor's office said.

The battle between the attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, and security forces lasted around five hours before it ended with all five terrorists killed, officials said.

The second attack, in Ghazni some 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Gardez, followed a similar pattern involving terrorists detonating an explosives-laden Humvee near a police headquarters then storming the building, Haref Noori, the Ghazni governor's spokesman, told AFP.

"Dozens of Taliban" were killed in the attack, Ghazni Police Chief Mohammad Zaman said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks and praised the "bravery and sacrifice" of security forces.


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