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Gunmen attack Afghan intelligence compound in Kabul, report says

16 August 2018

Earlier on Wednesday, local officials said at least nine policemen and 35 soldiers were killed in an attack on their base in the northern province of Baghlan, the latest of a series that has killed dozens of members of the security forces nationwide.

An additional 48 people were killed in a Taliban suicide bomb attack in front of an education center in the west of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Wednesday.

Both the resurgent Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have targeted Shiites in the past, considering them to be heretics. Numerous casualties were students between ages of 16 and 18.

While it has been months since The Taliban have claimed a major attack in Kabul, the group has been conducting blistering attacks on security forces across Afghanistan, including a massive, days-long onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni during the past week.

At least two gunmen were killed in the attack.

The attack comes amid a particularly bloody week in Afghanistan that has seen Taliban attacks kill scores of Afghan troops and civilians.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident. Another, a man whose 18-year-old daughter survived the attack, told the AP he saw blood and body parts covering benches and desks.

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With parliamentary elections due on October 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, but even so, the scale of the violence has come as a shock to a government facing bitter criticism over its handling of the war.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the "terrorist" attack on the education center in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, saying it "martyred and wounded the innocent".

The head of the United Nations children's agency denounced the attack, saying it's "deplorable" that children continue to be hardest hit in the growing violence across Afghanistan.

The Taliban launched a coordinated offensive last Friday, overwhelming the city's defenses and capturing several neighborhoods. "So, I believe the Taliban do not believe in peace talks", said shopkeeper Shahenshah Shahin in Kabul.

A standoff is underway between the Afghan forces and the assailant militants in the vicinity of the 5th police district of the city.

"It took Afghan forces - assisted by USA advisors - five days to repel the insurgents", NPR's Diaa Hadid reports. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the US, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years.

Gunmen attack Afghan intelligence compound in Kabul, report says