HERAT: Militants armed with guns and suicide vests stormed government buildings in a remote southwest Afghan city on Wednesday, setting off multiple explosions, the provincial governor said.
Police said two officers were killed in the coordinated attack on Zaranj, where witnesses reported gunbattles between police and militants in government offices. “Five suicide bombers detonated their bombs around the governor’s office. One suicide bomber was shot dead,” said a police officer who asked not be named. “Two police officers have been killed.
There might be more casualties,” added the officer, speaking from the attack scene. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the capital of Nimroz province, which shares a border with Helmand– the volatile vortex of the insurgency that has been blighting Afghanistan for more than eight years. “We sent six suicide bombers and three other attackers. They have attacked several government buildings, including the governor’s office,” said Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi.
“The fighting is still going on.” Provincial governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad said seven blasts rocked the city. “Police are engaged with the attackers in five or six locations, including the provincial council and provincial court,” he told AFP. Witness Ahmed Khan said that he had heard several explosions in the provincial capital and gunfire from the governor’s office.
Security in Nimroz has deteriorated in recent years amid reports Taliban insurgents are crossing into the province from Helmand, where US, Nato and Afghan troops conducted a major operation earlier this year.