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Series of blasts hit Kabul as suicide bombers and gunmen attack Afghanistan's capital 

09 May 2018 The Daily Telegraph

A string of blasts tore through Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday morning in the latest of a series of relentless attacks which have killed scores in recent weeks.

Officials said at least six were wounded, but warned casualties were expected to rise after suicide attackers and gunmen attacked police stations in Kabul

Hashmat Stanekzai, spokesman for police in the capital, confirmed an explosion near one police station and said a gun battle was underway there.

He said another explosion occurred near a different police station.

The Afghan capital has been besieged by a deadly suicide bombing campaign that has killed scores. The beleaguered government is struggling against both a long-running Taliban-led insurgency, and local militants who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremist group. Both groups are expected to attack nationwide elections scheduled for October.

Last week 25 were killed including nine journalists in two blasts near an Afghan intelligence agency office.

A week earlier, an Isil suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people, while in March the extremists killed 31 at a Shiite shrine in the city.

The Taliban a fortnight ago announced its annual spring offensive and the militants have continued to advance on district centres.

Britain has around 600 troops in the country, largely as security forces and military trainers in the capital, while America has around 15,000. The long-running Afghan campaign is now America’s longest war, and last year Donald Trump vowed a more aggressive campaign, pledging to “fight to win”.

Yet outside the capital, the Taliban continued to advance on rural district centres and capture local administrative centres.

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

A day earlier, the insurgents had captured the district compound in the remote Tala wa Barfak district, in the northern Baghlan province.

In Badghis province, eight soldiers were killed in an attack on a school being used as a voter registration centre.

 A US congressional watchdog last week painted a bleak picture of progress in the war, saying that nearly one-in-seven of the country’s districts are under the control or influence of insurgents.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said the Afghan security forces had sharply decreased in the past year. It said the combined total of police and army personnel had fallen nearly 36,000 to 296,000.

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