Taliban suicide bombs hit an office of the Afghan intelligence agency in an eastern city on Saturday, killing six people, and insurgents shot dead another 11 in the west, in an upsurge of violence as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from the country.
Seven militants were also killed during several hours of heavy fighting with Afghan security forces at the Jalalabad headquarters of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Ahmad Zeya Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of eastern Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.
Abdulzai said four NDS agents and two civilians were killed when a truck and a smaller car, both loaded with explosives, were driven into the compound and a gunfight broke out between Afghan forces and the insurgents.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
A pattern of bold offensives by militants has emerged across Afghanistan in recent weeks during the summer “fighting season.”
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It coincides with political deadlock in the capital, Kabul, where rival presidential candidates have failed to resolve months-long disputes over an election.
Most foreign combat troops are due to leave by the end of 2014 but the election dispute has meant a prolonged delay in signing a security pact with the United States governing how many troops would remain.
On Saturday, the insurgents struck in the western province of Farah, stopping a truck carrying workers to a construction site near the Iranian border and killing 11 of them. Authorities were trying to find out why the workers were targeted.
“They were innocent Afghan workers. They did not have any connection to the government, so we don’t know the reason for the attack,”said an official.