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Roadside bomb, assault on compound kill 17 in Afghanistan

Roadside bomb, assault on compound kill 17 in Afghanistan
The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A roadside bomb struck a passenger bus in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, as militants launched a coordinated attack in an eastern city that killed six, according to officials.

Another 31 civilians were wounded in the bus bombing, which took place in the western Farah province, according to Abdul Jabar Shahiq, the provincial health department chief. He said the bus was on its way from Herat province to the capital, Kabul, and that women and children were among the casualties.

In the eastern city of Jalalabad, a suicide car bomb went off outside a repatriation center, allowing two gunmen to storm the compound and setting off a six-hour gunbattle. Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the militants killed at least six people and wounded 14, including two policemen, before the two gunmen were killed by security forces.

“Afghan forces reacted quickly and rescued all participants at a meeting of non-governmental organizations that was taking place in a nearby building, as well as the head of the refugee department,” Khogyani said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Taliban and the Islamic State group carry out near-daily attacks in the Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.

The Taliban also have a strong presence in Farah, where they often plant roadside bombs to target government officials or security forces. Such attacks often end up killing civilians.

Farah has seen heavy fighting in recent months, with local officials and tribal elders requesting reinforcements to support the overburdened army and police. In May, more than 300 Taliban launched a multi-pronged attack on the city of Farah, the provincial capital, before they were repelled. At least 25 government forces were killed in the fighting.

The U.N. mission to Afghanistan said 1,692 civilians have been killed in the first six months of this year, the highest six-month casualty rate since the systematic documentation of such casualties began in 2009.

Since the United States and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, a resurgent Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country and an Islamic State affiliate has staged high-profile attacks that have killed scores of civilians.

On Tuesday, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing the day before in Nangarhar province that killed the commander of a local government-allied militia and three others.

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Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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