Rocket strike kills 50 Afghan Taliban leaders, US military says

Rocket strike kills 50 Afghan Taliban leaders, US military says

Afghan security forces on Wednesday turned back an attack on the nation's Interior Ministry in Kabul, officials said, after militants blew up a auto bomb outside the complex and allowed gunmen to stream inside.

Nicholson's remarks came hours after Afghan security guards foiled a suspected Taliban attack on the Interior Ministry in Kabul.

According to the ministry spokesman, Najib Danish, one policeman was killed and five were wounded in the assault.

"After that, several gunmen tried to get into the ministry, but they faced resistance by our security forces", he said.

A local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group has also launched a number of deadly attacks in recent months, including in Kabul.

Meanwhile, the US military announced Wednesday that an artillery strike killed more than 50 senior Taliban commanders in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand.

Police also said they had found a vehicle stuffed with explosives and guns at Kabul's global airport, which is near to the interior ministry, on Wednesday. Video footage from the scene showed that the assailants wore what appeared to be imitations of USA military uniforms.

IS, which is trying to make inroads in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq propaganda service. Critics warn the US -backed Afghan army can not promise to defeat the Taliban or overcome Afghanistan's vast political divisions and entrenched corruption.

The militants traded fire with security force before they were killed within minutes.

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Among the dead were the commander of the police station and the deputy director of traffic police for Puli Alim, the provincial capital, said Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the governor.

Scores of Afghan militants have been killed in an artillery rocket strike in the country's south, the USA has claimed, with the Taliban launching their own attack on government forces on Wednesday.

An Afghan official says at least two police officials were killed in suicide-bomb attacks at a police station in eastern Logar province.

Afghan militants have been targeted in an artillery strike, the United States has said, while the Taliban carried out an attack on government forces.

But on April 25, the Taliban announced their offensive and since then, the violence has increased, but still stands at a level that's 10 percent to 20 percent below the five-year average, he said.

The Taliban claimed the attacks in both provinces.

US officials in recent years have declined to offer data on levels of attacks initiated by insurgents, saying that the United States no longer had a big enough intelligence gathering operation in Afghanistan to publish reliable estimates. He said the victims included mechanics who had been contracted to fix Afghan army vehicles.

Two blasts went off outside the ministry compound before assailants attempted to storm the building, triggering fierce clashes with security forces that lasted for hours.

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