Taliban guerrillas detonated a bomb and opened fire on Afghan security forces as they attacked a court near the compound of a provincial governor today, killing at least 21 people and wounding about 80 others.
Attackers were also killed, according to the Associated Press tally of the casualties. Seven Taliban fighters armed with grenades, rocket-launchers, Kalashnikov rifles and suicide vests carried out the assault, Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, the provincial governor of Farah province, said by phone.
The insurgents managed “to enter the provincial court and a local bank,” Khpalwak said. Two or three militants were still fighting, while others had been killed. Some government workers had been taken hostage, the governor said.
The battle began at 9:20 a.m. local time in the volatile province that borders Iran. Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility in a phone interview saying members of the insurgent group were on trial in the court.
Afghan forces are taking the lead in many security operations as U.S. forces exit after a 12-year war with the Taliban.
President Barack Obama has ordered the withdrawal of half of the roughly 68,000 American troops by next February. American officials have said the president is considering keeping 8,000 to 12,000 forces from the U.S. and NATO to support and train Afghans or play a limited role fighting terrorists if an agreement can be reached to secure their immunity from local prosecution.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Pakistan at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at email@example.com