After an hours-long gunbattle, Afghan forces, backed by foreign troops, retook a government building that Taliban insurgents stormed in a commando-style raid on Sunday in southeastern town of Khost, the provincial police chief said.
Two of the assailants managed to blow up the suicide vests they were wearing inside the main department for Khost’s traffic while the other pair were killed after several hours of fighting with Afghan and foreign forces, Mohammad Hakim Ishaqzai said by phone.
“It is over,” he said. “We have the building under our control and all four of the attackers have been killed.”
Three police officers were killed and another three wounded in the exchange of fire, he said. Footage from a private television showed smoke rising from the multi-story compound that the Taliban had occupied.
Equipped with assault rifles, the Taliban group stormed the building in a raid just after dawn first by shooting the guard of the complex, officials said .
Afghan and NATO-led troops besieged the complex while an alliance helicopter hovered above, retaking the compound, they said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident, the latest in a string of attacks since militants this month announced a nationwide spring offensive against the Afghan government and foreign troops.
Having suffered heavy losses in face-to-face or conventional battles in recent years, the insurgents mostly rely on roadside bombs, suicide attacks or commando-style attacks, usually involving a group of fighters equipped with arms and suicide vests. The surge of Taliban attacks follows a long winter lull and months of operations by NATO-led forces that resulted to the arrests and deaths of thousands of suspected insurgents.
Sunday’s attack comes a day after a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of student doctors at the main military hospital in a highly secure section of the capital, killing at least six and wounding more than 30.
Many recent Taliban attacks have targeted security forces or bases and come as Afghan forces plan to gradually take over security duties from U.S. forces and Washington prepares to cut its troop levels starting in July.
Separately, two Afghan police were wounded after an explosive device attached to a motorcycle went off in an area of southern Kandahar city on Sunday, a witness from the city said.