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    2 dead in ongoing Paktia clash

    GARDEZ (PAN): Two people were reported dead during a gun and suicide attack in the Samkani district of southeastern Paktia province on Thursday, officials said.

    The clash, still ongoing, erupted after a suicide bomber detonated his vest at the gate of the district headquarters, allowing other bombers to enter the building in the evening, the governor’s spokesman, Rohullah Samoon, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    A policeman was killed during the gun-battle between the attackers and Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, he said.

    Eighteen tribal elders and five district chiefs were holding a meeting in the compound when a number of militants carrying guns and wearing suicide vests launched their attack, provincial council chief, Shayesta Jan Ahadi, said.

    Three of the tribal elders were able to flee the scene, but the condition of others elders was unknown, she said.

    The gathering was aimed at selecting people for the November 16 traditional Loya  Jirga discussing a strategic cooperation agreement between Afghanistan and the US, witness Ashaqullah said.

    A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the fighters overran the district headquarters as a result of the suicide and gun attack. He claimed five policemen were killed and scores of others injured.