Four killed as Taliban seizes building in Afghan provincial capital

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Kabul (Afghanistan), Aug. 11 (ANI): Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers seized a five-story building in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Afghanistan's Logar Province on Monday, after battling Afghan and American forces for several hours.

At least four people were killed in the encounter that occurred ten days before national and presidential elections.

A New York Times report said seven to eight gunmen drove their Toyota up to a shopping center shortly after noon, shot the civilian watchman and rushed to occupy the second and third floors.

From their high positions, they opened fire on the provincial police headquarters and the provincial governor's office nearby.

As the gunmen seized the building, other insurgents fired mortar shells into the town from a hilltop outside of it.

Some of the Taliban gunmen wore suicide vests packed with explosives, and one bomber detonated explosives in a car outside the police headquarters.

Afghan and American forces surrounded the building as Apache helicopters circled and fired rockets into it. By late afternoon, three gunmen appeared to have been killed, but fighting continued as government forces tried to kill or capture the remaining gunmen.

One gunman blew himself up with the car bomb; one was killed by rocket fire from the helicopters; and one died in a firefight with Afghan security forces.

American forces moved into the shopping center and swept the upper floors.

The main road connecting the capital, Kabul, to the southeastern region of the country was cordoned off by dozens of Afghan police officers and American soldiers.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahed, claimed responsibility for the attack and said six suicide attackers had struck the police station, the governor's office and the election commission office. (ANI)

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