Taliban Storm Afghan Intelligence Base
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - At least six people were killed and dozens wounded when a suicide car bomber and Taliban gunmen attacked an office of the Afghan intelligence agency in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Saturday, officials said.
Heavy fighting was continuing between the Taliban and Afghan security forces hours after the attack on the Jalalabad headquarters of the National Directorate of Security began, said Ahmad Zeya Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of eastern Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.
Nangahar's public health director, Najib Kamawal, said: "So far six bodies and 45 wounded have been transferred to the local hospital."
"Most of the victims are civilians," Kamawal said.
Abdulzai said the toll was likely to rise, Reuters reported.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, part of a broader pattern of bold offensives by militants across Afghanistan that has emerged in recent weeks during the summer "fighting season."
The violence coincides with a political deadlock in the capital, Kabul, where rival presidential candidates have been unable to resolve months-long disputes over an election meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history.
Most foreign combat troops are due to leave by the end of the year but the deadlock over the presidential election has meant a prolonged delay in signing a security pact with the United States governing how many troops would remain.
While the political impasse drags on, the Taliban-led insurgency has focused on important tactical and symbolic targets as a challenge to the Afghan security forces who are taking over from their NATO-led counterparts.
Afghan forces have been struggling to fight off large numbers of insurgent fighters in provinces to the east, north and south of Kabul in recent weeks.