Suicide Bombers Attack Peaceful Province in Afghan North

Created: 2013-05-30 05:39 EST

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Taliban suicide bombers, some dressed as police, killed a policeman in a rare attack on a governor's compound in Afghanistan's fiercely anti-Taliban Panjshir valley on Wednesday (May 29), a stark indication of their broadening reach.

The attack was the first of its kind in the Panjshir since October 2011. The Panjshir was an important rallying area for anti-Taliban forces that toppled the Islamist group's government in late 2001.

Two attackers blew themselves up at the entrance of the fortified compound in the pre-dawn assault, which was followed by a 30-minute gun battle during which another three militants were shot dead, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

A sixth escaped from the compound and reached a nearby village. He detonated the explosives-packed vest he was wearing when Afghan police found him there several hours later.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the militants.

The assault also came five days after Taliban militants launched a large, coordinated attack on a compound used by the United Nations' International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the capital Kabul, sparking a five-hour battle.

Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks against Afghan and foreign targets since they announced their "spring offensive" last month.