World News

Taliban Overrun Government Offices and Kill Two Top Officials

Posted April 12, 2018 11:06 a.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2018 11:12 a.m. EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents overran a government headquarters in southeastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing a district governor and the chief of security as well as at least nine others, officials said.

Mohammad Arif Noori, a spokesman for the governor of Ghazni province, said that Taliban insurgents attacked the government compound of Khwaja Umari district, killing the district governor, Ali Dost Shams, 30, and the district chief of the National Directorate for Security, Ahmad Ziya.

Noori said the attackers used heavy weapons and destroyed the district government building, killing five police officers and four NDS officers, as well as the officials. Ten other officers were injured. They also attacked the police headquarters but were repulsed. In retaliation, he said, the Afghan air force bombed Taliban positions, killing 30 insurgents.

The district is the basic unit of local governance in Afghanistan, which has about 400 districts nationwide. The National Directorate of Security is the Afghan intelligence agency and its local head is one of the top security officials at the district level.

Ghulam Sakhi Amar, a member of the Ghazni Provincial Council, put the death toll on the government side at 20. He said that 14 people including the governor were killed in the district itself and that the Taliban then ambushed a relief force as it was leaving the provincial capital of Ghazni City, killing six police officers.

He said the Taliban forces set buildings on fire but left the area by daylight.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said killed 20 police officers. He did not mention the two senior officials.