Afghan District Governor Among Several Killed in Taliban Attack

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The Taliban stormed a government compound in central Afghanistan early on Thursday, triggering an hours-long gunbattle that killed 15, including three top local officials, before they drove Afghan forces out.

Scores of militants struck the compound in Khwaja Omari district at about 2am, scaling the walls with ladders and overwhelming the government troops inside.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid, in a statement to media, said the militants had taken the key parts of the district including the district and police headquarters.

Khawaja Omari is near the provincial capital, also called Ghazni, a city of 150,000 people 150 km (95 miles) southwest of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The Taliban has laid siege to several major cities in the years since North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces ended combat operations...

Taliban said they have captured the district, a claim that was rejected by the local police officials, the TOLO News said.

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Mujahid gave a higher casualty figure among the Afghan forces, which the Taliban often do, exaggerating their achievements on the battlefield, and a significantly lower death toll among the insurgent attackers.

Six police also died and 10 intelligence officers were wounded in the attack on the Khwaja Omari district headquarters in the southeastern province of Ghazni, the provincial governor's spokesman Aref Noori told AFP.

He said eight government security forces were injured in the fighting.

Ramazan Ali Moseni, a deputy chief police in Ghazni province, has reportedly said that seven police officers and five members of the country's intelligence agency NDS were also killed in the attack.

The Taliban usually announce the launch of a spring offensive in April.