74 killed, over 200 wounded in Afghan police attack: Official
Khost: At least 74 people have been killed in a wave of Taliban suicide attacks targeting police compounds and government facilities in the south, east and west of Afghanistan.
Among those killed was a provincial police chief. Scores of people, including police officers and civilians, were also wounded.
The deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, said the onslaught on Tuesday had been the biggest terrorist attacks this year.
He told a press conference in Kabul that 71 people were killed by insurgents in Ghazni and Paktia provinces.
In southern Paktia province, 21 police officers and 20 civilians were killed when suicide car bombers targeted a police compound in the provincial capital of Gardez. Among the wounded were 48 police officers and 110 civilians.
The provincial police chief, Toryalai Abdyani, was killed in the Paktia attack, Murad confirmed.
The interior ministry said after the two cars exploded in Gardez, five assailants with suicide belts tried to storm the compound but they were killed by Afghan security forces.
Gardez city hospital reported receiving at least 130 people wounded in the attack, a health ministry spokesman, Waheed Majroo, said.
Hamza Aqmhal, a student at Paktia University, said he heard a powerful blast that shattered the windows of the building he was in. The university is about 1.25 miles from the training academy, said Aqmhal, who was slightly injured by broken glass.
A lawmaker from Paktia, Mujeeb Rahman Chamkni, said along with the provincial chief of police several of his staff were killed in the attack. Most of the casualties were civilians who had come to the centre, which also serves a passport office,
In southern Ghazni, suicide car bombers stormed a security compound in Andar district and killed 25 police officers and five civilians, Murad said. At least 15 people were wounded in the attack, including 10 police officers, he added.
Despite the high death toll, Murad said Afghan forces remained confident about their "readiness to fight terrorists and eliminate them from Afghanistan".
Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor in Ghazni, said the onslaught there lasted nine hours. The bodies of 13 Taliban fighters were discovered after the attack, Noori added.
In western Farah province, the police chief, Abdul Maruf Fulad, said Taliban fighters killed three police officers in an attack on a government compound in Shibkho district.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks.
Murad said the militant group has sustained heavy losses over the past six months at the hands of Afghan forces and was seeking revenge.
Tuesday's attack in Gardez came hours after a US drone strike in Pakistan's Kurram tribal district, part of which borders Paktia, killed at least 26 Haqqani militants, officials have said.
Local officials told AFP that drones were still flying above Kurram after the attack, the deadliest targeting militants in the Pakistani tribal region this year. In Kurram last week the Pakistani military rescued a US-Canadian family who had been abducted by militants in Afghanistan in 2012. US President Donald Trump has said they were being held by the Haqqani network.
The extremist group has been blamed for carrying out spectacular attacks across Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 and is known for its frequent use of suicide bombers. It was blamed for the truck bomb deep in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul in May that killed around 150 people.