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Taliban Attack Afghan Police Compound

by AFP

Noorullah Shirzada—AFP

At least 13 people killed, dozens more wounded in assault at Pul-i-Khumri

At least 13 people were killed and dozens more wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber and several gunmen attacked a police headquarters in northern Afghanistan on Sunday.

The deadly assault occurred two days after President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramzan, which begins Monday.

The insurgents have rebuffed the move, which came at the end of peace talks in Kabul, and as the Taliban meet with the U.S. at separate talks in Qatar.

Sunday’s attack started with a massive blast at the police facility in Pul-i-Khumri, about 250 kilometers north of Kabul, sending a huge plume of smoke into the sky. The explosion was followed up by gunmen storming the police compound, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

In a tweet, he said a suicide bomber had detonated a bomb inside an armored personnel carrier, “flattening most of the building.”

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said 13 police officers were killed in the attack, with another 35 wounded. Eight attackers were also killed, Rahimi said in a statement, adding 20 civilians were wounded.

Faisal Sami, a senator from Baghlan province, put the toll at 12 killed and 60 wounded.

The current round of talks between the Taliban and U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad entered their fourth day on Sunday. The two foes are hammering out a deal that could see foreign forces leave Afghanistan in return for a ceasefire, talks between the government and the Taliban, and a guarantee the country will never again be used as a safe haven for terror groups.

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