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    3 policemen, 5 bombers dead in Paktia clash

    GARDEZ (PAN): Three policemen were killed when a group of Taliban suicide bombers attacked the headquarters of Samkani district in southeastern Paktia province on Thursday, officials said.

    Another two policemen were injured after they started a gun-battle with the attackers. Three attackers blew themselves up at the gate of the government building and the two others who tried to enter the compound were shot dead by police, governor’s spokesman, Rohullah Samoon, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Eighteen tribal elders and five district chiefs were meeting at the compound when the attack happened, provincial council chief, Shayesta Jan Ahadi, said.

    The gathering discussed names of individuals for taking part in the November 16 traditional Loya Jirga on 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 that lasted two hours. He claimed five policemen were killed and scores of others injured.

    Officials said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) destroyed a mosque where gunmen had hidden.

    The Taliban said a large number of suicide attackers attacked and conquered Samkani district.

    myn/ma