11 dead after militants attack Afghan interior ministry

Marines launch the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System during Operation Steel Knight aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms Calif. Dec. 7 2017. (Pfc. William Chockey  Marine Corps

The attack on the new building of the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan, on the airport road in Kabul, ended after nearly two hours when 10 attackers were killed by government forces, a spokesman for the ministry confirmed.

One Afghan policemen also was killed during the firefight and another five were wounded, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said. The statement called it an "immersion attack" on the ministry in Kabul.

Gen. John Nicholson, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon from his Kabul office, said USA forces "believe it was a Taliban-Haqqani attack, but we're still developing that information".

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital that targeted the Interior Ministry building in Kabul.

U.S. Air Force A-10s and an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone carried out other strikes in the same time period.

The Taliban claimed the attack. The group views the Afghan government as weak, divided and unable to make decisions on big issues, including the full withdrawal of US/Nato forces, releasing their prisoners and the removal of Taliban officials' names from sanctions lists.

The Taliban dismissed the report as "propaganda" and said the attack had hit two civilian houses in Musa Qala, killing five civilians and wounding three.

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Security officials say violence is expected to pick up as preparations continue for parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

A senior ministry official said one attacker blew himself up inside the compound and another was resisting from a watchtower as a plume of dust and smoke rose over the sprawling site.

"We broke their dream so that they will never try to attack military installations particularly the minister of interior", Danish said. Three would-be suicide bombers then tried to enter the compound, but were shot and killed by security forces.

In eastern Logar province, suicide bombers attacked a police station in the morning, killing at least three police officers, including the station's commander and the deputy director of traffic police for the provincial capital, Pul-e Alam, local media reported.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State.

Afghan officials have said recently that their forces were battling militants in at least half of the country's 34 provinces and that at least seven provincial capitals were under threat. The Taliban have threatened to attack voter registration centres.

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