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Blasts and gunfire rock Kabul, casualties feared

09 May 2018 Al Jazeera

Several loud explosions have rocked Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, where the Taliban and an ISIL affiliate have carried out a series of massive attacks in recent months.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai confirmed an explosion near one police station on Wednesday and said a gunbattle was under way there.

He said another explosion occurred near a different police station. He did not have any immediate word on casualties but other officials said several people were killed in the attacks. 

The Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) frequently target Afghanistan's Western-backed government and security forces.

Twin suicide bombings claimed by ISIL last week killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack, in the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced on a district compound, officials said, with one reporting the capture of the northern district by the fighters and another saying heavy fighting was still under way.

The battle for the compound in the Bilchirgh district, in the northern Faryab province, came a day after the insurgents captured the district compound in the remote Tala wa Barfak district, in the northern Baghlan province.

The Taliban have captured several districts in different parts of the country from Afghan security forces since 2014, when the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission and shifted to a supporting role.

Mohammad Hashim, a member of parliament from Faryab province, said the Taliban captured the district headquarters in Bilchirgh early on Wednesday after more than 40 security forces retreated under heavy fire.

He said the Taliban also captured several villages nearby. Provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yuresh said the fighting is still under way and that government forces still hold the compound.

The Taliban issued a statement saying they control the district and claiming to have killed 10 security forces.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a school being used as a voter registration centre, killing eight soldiers in the latest in a series of attacks targeting preparations for elections later this year.

Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the governing council in the western Badghis province, said two other soldiers were wounded and one is missing.

"There are many areas in the province under a high security threat, and this site was one of those areas," he said, adding that the centre was some 30km west of the provincial capital of Qala-e Now.

In the eastern Nangarhar province, a rocket fired by insurgents struck a market, killing two people and wounding 19, according to Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

He said another four other civilians were killed and 15 wounded in a gunbattle in the same district, in which two fighters were killed and seven wounded. It was unclear who was behind the attacks, but the Taliban and an ISIL affiliate are both active in the province.

Original Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/afghanistan-blasts-rock-kabul-casualties-feared-180509075352983.html

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