Insurgents attack Afghan governor’s compound, killing at least 20

August 14, 2011

KABUL — Around 20 people were killed Sunday when six suicide bombers staged a commando-style attack on the office of the governor of Parwan province, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Parwan’s capital, north of Kabul.

The attack happened as top provincial officials were holding a meeting in the governor’s compound in Charikar, which is about six miles from Bagram Airfield, the main base for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

It’s the first strike of its kind in a region that’s regarded as relatively secure.

All of the meeting’s attendants, including Gov. Abdul Basir Salangi, survived the attack, but 14 civilians and five police officers were killed, Zia-Ur-Rahman Sayedkheli, a senior police official for the province, said by phone.

“Government civil servants are among the 14 non-combatants killed in the attack,” he said.

Another official said at least 20 people were wounded.

One of the suicide bombers used a car to blow up an entrance to the building. Five insurgents then burst into the compound, Sayedkheli said. A gunbattle broke out, lasting nearly two hours, he added.

Five explosions shook the building, which is located in a densely populated part of the town, and part of the building caught fire, a third official said.

The assailants were equipped with bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles, he said.

The attack comes during a recent spate of high-profile strikes against senior Afghan military and civil officials throughout the country. Sunday’s incident was the first major attack in Charikar since the resurgence of the Taliban.

Salahuddin is a special correspondent.

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