Afghan troops free prisoners held by Taliban; bomb wounds 6

Afghan troops free prisoners held by Taliban; bomb wounds 6

Afghan troops free prisoners held by Taliban; bomb wounds 6

On Wednesday, militants launched a gun and bomb attack on the Interior Ministry in Kabul, killing a policeman in another demonstration of their ability to strike at the heart of the Afghan capital.

Gunmen in Kabul, the capital, attacked the heavily fortified Interior Ministry, battling security forces for more than two hours before the assault was suppressed.

One police officer died and six other people were wounded in the attack, he added.

A senior police official said a auto bomb was detonated near the ministry's entrance and then a gun battle between attackers and members of the security forces broke out.

More than 50 Taliban commanders were killed when the rocket hit the restless Helmand province, as militants from across the country gathered for a meeting, a spokesperson for United States forces in Afghanistan said. But, he noted, the Afghan forces responded as they should have on Wednesday. In a later tweet, he said there were concerns that an attacker in a US military uniform was on the base and that head counts were underway. Critics warn the USA -backed Afghan army can not promise to defeat the Taliban or overcome Afghanistan's vast political divisions and entrenched corruption.

Meanwhile, also in Helmand, a district governor says a suicide auto bomber wounded six people, including three policemen, on Thursday morning.

USA officials in recent years have declined to offer data on levels of attacks initiated by insurgents, saying that the United States no longer had a big enough intelligence gathering operation in Afghanistan to publish reliable estimates.

The U.S. military said the May 24 meeting in Helmand's district of Musa Qala involved commanders from a number of Afghan provinces, including neighbouring Farah, where Taliban fighters this month briefly threatened to overrun the provincial capital. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The violence left at least four security forces members dead, according to officials.

And in northern Samangan province, a provincial hospital director was killed when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle detonated on Tuesday in the provincial capital, Aybak, according to Sediq Azizi, the provincial spokesman.

The Taliban claimed the attacks in both provinces. He said the victims included mechanics who had been contracted to fix Afghan army vehicles. "We were told to stay inside our offices as the compound was attacked", said one ministry employee.

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