Afghanistan

At Least One Dead, 35 Wounded In Kabul Attacks

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Afghan officials say two suicide bombers have struck Kabul in attacks claimed by the Taliban, killing at least one person and wounding dozens.

One assailant targeted the entrance of a district police headquarters in western Kabul as part of a coordinated attack on March 1, Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Najib Danish said. He said a gun battle between police and an unknown number of attackers was ongoing.

Mohibullah Zeer, a Public Health Ministry official, said that one person was killed and at least 37 wounded.

Thick smoke billowed above the police compound, and several rounds of small arms fire as well as other explosions were heard. Danish said a clearing up operation was under way at the site, which is not far from a military training school.

A second suicide bomber, on foot, targeted an office belonging to the national intelligence service in the eastern part of the Afghan capital, Danish said. He said two people were wounded in that attack.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for both attacks on behalf of the militant group.

The attacks came shortly ahead of the period when the Taliban, which is seeking to reimpose its rule after being driven from power following the U.S.-led invastion in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States -- normally announce a spring offensive.

Government forces have struggled to control the Taliban insurgency since the NATO-led coalition ended its combat mission in 2014 and most foreign forces withdrew. According to U.S. estimates, the government now controls less than 60 percent of the country, though its forces have managed to hold on to all of the main provincial centers.

Afghan forces are facing mounting pressure from a resurgent Taliban amid record casualties and mass desertions as the insurgents escalate nationwide attacks.

Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside the Supreme Court in Kabul. The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa

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