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Afghanistan : At least eight killed in Taliban attacks on government offices in Helmand

By Tajuddin
In WORLD NEWS
Mar 9th, 2016
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Photo taken on March 9, 2016 shows a damaged building at the attack site in Gereshk district of Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. At least eight persons were killed after Taliban gunmen attacked government offices in Gereshk district of southern Afghanistan's province of Helmand on Wednesday, an official said. (Xinhua/Aziz Safdary)

Photo taken on March 9, 2016 shows a damaged building at the attack site in Gereshk district of Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. At least eight persons were killed after Taliban gunmen attacked government offices in Gereshk district of southern Afghanistan’s province of Helmand on Wednesday, an official said. (Xinhua/Aziz Safdary)

Lashkar Gah,Helmand province, Afghanistan (Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO) – At least eight persons were killed after Taliban gunmen attacked government offices in Gereshk district of southern Afghanistan’s province of Helmand on Wednesday, an official said.

“The gunbattle started roughly at 6:00 a.m. local time. Sporadic clashes are going on as security forces are repelling the attack at around midday. Those killed included seven attackers and one policeman,” Abdul Jabar Qahraman, a senior provincial security official, told Xinhua.

The militants seized a building and fired on district governor office, police station and the nearby educational department in the key district located in the northeastern part of provincial capital Lashkar Gah, 555 km south of Afghan capital of Kabul.

“The initial information said 10 men armed with weapons and suicide jackets were involved in the attack. They arrived by vehicles and took position in separate locations in the district before security forces push them back,” Qahraman said, adding the security forces were involved in a counter-attack to arrest or eliminate the remaining militants.

Additional security forces were dispatched to the area, Qahraman, who serves as the special presidential envoy for security of Helmand, noted.

Three security force members were also wounded during the clashes.

“More details about the incident will be released later on the day after the cleanup operation ends,” he said.

The streets were mainly deserted and people shut down shops shortly after the fighting in the district also known Nahri Sarraj occurred.

The militants also attacked several security checkpoints in outer parts of the district. They tried to take control of the buildings and overrun the district, a security source told Xinhua earlier in the day.

Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Helmand, notorious for poppy growing, is also a known Taliban stronghold. The province has seen increasing militancy over the past couple of months despite continued military operations there.

The violence has been on the rise since the drawdown of U.S. and NATO forces over the past two years as the Afghan army and police struggle against a surge in attacks by anti-government fighters.

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