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Militants attack Afghan ministry with bomb, grenades and gunfire

31 May 2018

Afghan officials said a suicide bomber struck outside the ministry, allowing gunmen to pass through an outer gate where they traded fire with security forces, who eventually killed the attackers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but previous attacks - often following the same pattern of a bombing followed by a firefight - have been claimed variously by the Islamic State or the Taliban.

"To avoid civilian casualties and only cause damage to enemy military, we are asking Kabul residents to keep away", said a statement published online.

Some Taliban leaders are participating in private talks with Afghanistan government officials to jumpstart peace talks, even as fighting endures in the 16-year war, the top USA commander in the country said Wednesday. ISIS is an alternative acronym for IS. Both groups have also expanded their footprint in the countryside.

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Gen. Miller's extensive operational and command experience in Afghanistan, going back to when the Army Special Forces officer led the Obama-era Afghanistan-Pakistan Coordination Cell at the Pentagon in 2009, makes the special operations veteran a good fit to usher in the Trump era of the longest war in USA history, some defense analysts say. Their relentless assaults underscore the struggles that Afghan forces have faced since the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. He said another three people were wounded in the battle Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a district headquarters in the northern Takhar province, killing five security forces, according to provincial police spokesman Khalil Asir.

"With Miller going into this environment, he's the right guy for it because this is a "Kill bad guys" time again in Afghanistan", he said.

In Logar Province, just to the south of Kabul, insurgents mounted an early morning attack on Wednesday against the First District Police Headquarters in the provincial seat of Pul-i-Alam, using a suicide vehicle bomb followed by three gunmen, according to Afghan police officials.

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Wednesday's attack came hours after Taliban suicide bombers stormed a police station in Logar province south of Kabul, where three officers were killed. No one immediately claimed the attack.

The suicide bombers then tried to gatecrash the compound, but were shot and killed by security forces; the response by security forces is being lauded on a wide scale.

"It's certainly a notable strike", he said, adding that several other senior and lower level commanders had been killed during operations over a 10-day period this month.

"We believe it was a Taliban, Haqqani attack, but we're still developing that information".

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Militants attack Afghan ministry with bomb, grenades and gunfire