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5 Afghan officers killed as Taliban storm police HQ

5 AFGHAN OFFICERS KILLED AS TALIBAN STORM POLICE HQ

The Taliban in Afghanistan stormed a regional police headquarters following a suicide car bombing on Sunday killing at least five officers, officials have confirmed.

The Afghan National Police (ANP) headquarters in the city of Gardez, provincial capital of the southeastern Paktia province is a two-hour drive from the national capital Kabul.

Assadullah Sherzad, spokesman for the ANP in Paktia, told Anadolu Agency a suicide car bombing close to the main gate of the police headquarters at around 7.00 a.m. (0230GMT) was followed by an exchange of fire between militants and security forces.

"We fear a large number of civilian casualties as there were shops and customers near the police headquarters where the attack took place. Five of our policemen have embraced martyrdom and 10 more have been wounded," he said.

The Taliban have taken responsibility for the attack. Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the group, claimed to have killed "scores of security personnel" in this attack.

Besides the ANP, the headquarters in Paktia is also home to the ANP's Special Forces, the Public Order Police and the central command of the 303-Spin Zar regional police force for the southeastern parts of the country.

Last month, armed militants stormed a private bank in Gardez, leaving at least six people, including three attackers, dead.

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