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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Suicide bombers strike twice in Afghan capital, killing two police

ISIS claimed responsibility for the first attack 

Afghans run from the site of a suicide attack, in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan on May 9, 2018. Three suicide bombers struck two police stations in Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, wounding at least six people, officials said. Rahmat Gul / AP
Afghans run from the site of a suicide attack, in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan on May 9, 2018. Three suicide bombers struck two police stations in Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, wounding at least six people, officials said. Rahmat Gul / AP

Suicide bombers struck two police stations in Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, killing at least two police and wounding several other people, officials said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the first suicide bomber attacked a station in the western part of Kabul, killing at least two police. He said there was sporadic gunfire after the blast, as a "cleanup operation" was carried out.

Kabulpolice chief Gen. Daud Amin said another two policemen were wounded in the attack.

Gen. Amin said a separate attack in central Kabul, in which a suicide bomber struck at the entrance to a police station, set off fighting that was still underway. He said gunmen occupied a nearby building, from which they were firing at security forces.

Asam, the head of the Kabul ambulance service, who only has one name, said six people have been transferred to hospitals. The toll was expected to rise.

ISIS claimed the first attack. Both the Taliban and ISIS frequently target Afghanistan's Western-backed government and security forces. Twin suicide bombings claimed by ISIS last week killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack. It was the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced on a district compound, officials said on Wednesday, with one reporting the capture of the northern district by the insurgents and another saying heavy fighting was still underway.

The battle for the compound in the Bilchirgh district, in the northern Faryab province, came a day after the insurgents captured the district compound in the remote Tala wa Barfak district, in the northern Baghlan province. The Taliban have captured several districts in different parts of the country from Afghan security forces since 2014, when the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission and shifted to a supporting role.

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Mohammad Hashim, a member of parliament from Faryab province, said the Taliban captured the district headquarters in Bilchirgh early Wednesday after more than 40 security forces retreated under heavy fire. He said the Taliban also captured several villages nearby. Provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yuresh said the fighting is still underway and that government forces still hold the compound.

The Taliban issued a statement saying they control the district and claiming to have killed 10 security forces.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a school being used as a voter registration center, killing eight soldiers in the latest in a series of attacks targeting preparations for elections later this year.

Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the governing council in the western Badghis province, said two other soldiers were wounded and one is missing.

"There are many areas in the province under a high security threat, and this site was one of those areas," he said, adding that the center was some 30 kilometers west of the provincial capital of Qala-e Now.

In the eastern Nangarhar province, a rocket fired by insurgents struck a market, killing two people and wounding 19, according to Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor. He said another four other civilians were killed and 15 wounded in a gunbattle in the same district, in which two insurgents were killed and seven wounded. It was unclear who was behind the attacks, but the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate are both active in the province.

Meanwhile on Wednesday an earthquake shook buildings in Kabul.

Workers left buildings in Kabul and Pakistani media reported the quake was felt in Pakistan's Islamabad, the capital, and the northwestern city of Peshawar.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centred in Tajikistan, near the Afghan border.