Militants attack Afghan ministry with bomb, grenades & gunfire

A group of armed militants launched a coordinated attack on the compound of the Ministry of Interior in Kabul city at around noon time today

A coordinated assault on the interior ministry building in Afghanistan's capital ended with all 10 attackers killed. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish says one policeman was killed and another five were wounded.

At least four Taliban insurgents were also killed and another militant was wounded during the operation, the provincial government said.

Three attackers, wearing military uniforms, detonated explosives while the others were shot by government troops, officials said.

The Trump administration has relaxed rules of engagement in Afghanistan in response to growing threats from the Taliban and other insurgent groups and has coupled that with a surge of 3,000 more US troops and additional American firepower into the country - the linchpin in the White House's regional strategy announced in August.

Later Wednesday, the American commander of USA and coalition forces in Afghanistan cast doubt the attack was the work of IS, saying instead there are indications the Taliban-allied Haqqani network was behind it.

But the Taliban have always insisted on talking only to the U.S., whom they consider the main party to the conflict, in any initial talks.

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They were captured for different reasons ranging from cooperating with Afghan security forces to being a member of the local police force, Saleem said.

The Taliban denied the US military's account, calling it "propaganda" and claiming that the strike hit two civilian houses, resulting in the deaths of five civilians.

Hundreds of Afghan forces have been killed in the Taliban attacks, raising further questions about the viability of holding long-delayed parliamentary and provincial council elections slated for October ahead of next year's presidential vote.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a district headquarters in the northern Takhar province, killing five security forces, according to provincial police spokesman Khalil Asir.

Also on Wednesday a vehicle bomb in the southern city of Kandahar went off inside a garage where Afghan army vehicles were being repaired, killing three mechanics and wounding 13 people, governor's spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.

Both the Taliban and ISIL have stepped up attacks on Kabul, making it the deadliest place in the country for civilians in recent months. No one immediately claimed the attack.

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