24 injured in Kandahar blasts, gunfire
KANDAHARCITY (PAN): As many as 24 people, including police and civilians, were injured after insurgents launched a string of attacks on government offices in southern Kandahar province on Saturday, officials said.
Twenty blasts, including two suicide bombings, rocked the southern city of Kandahar, leaving at least 24 people injured, with a gun battle still going on between the security forces and the attackers, a security official told Pajhwok Afghan News on condition of anonymity.
The provincial governor's office and several other places were attacked by Taliban militants.
The Taliban said the group inflicted huge casualties during the attacks on the government buildings.
Wishing anonymity, a doctor at the Mirwais hospital confirmed receiving 24 injured people, including police officials, at the hospital.
President Hamid Karzai in a statement called the attacks as "revenge" by extremists for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
"Al-Qaeda and its terrorist members who have suffered a major defeat with the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistani territory have tried to hide this defeat by killing civilians in Kandahar and take their revenge on the innocent people of Afghanistan," the statement said.
The governor's spokesman, Zalmay Ayubi, earlier told Pajhwok Afghan News that gunmen holed up in a nearby building traded fire with security forces guarding the governor's office.
The Taliban fighters had entered the four-storey building at around 1pm near the governor's office, firing on the compound, a municipality building, police headquarters in the Mirwais Mina in the limits of fist police district.
Shopkeepers throughout the city closed down there shops and the streets emptied of people as residents bunkered down inside to wait out the fight. Police blocked journalists from getting near the buildings under assault.
The first attack happened when gunmen fired at government buildings from a market south of the governor's office. The second attack was carried out from an under construction building near Khirqa Sharif Park west of the governor's office, Ayubi said.
Militants used heavy and light weapons and threw hand grenades into the office, he said. Government employees suffered no casualties in the attack, but 10 civilians injured in the incident were taken to the Mirwais civil hospital, he said.
A suicide bomber who wanted to enter a police building in Mirwais Mina area was killed after a brief clash. Another bomber was killed when he tried to penetrate the first district police office.
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