District governor among 15 killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

Kabul—The Taliban stormed a government compound in central Afghanistan early on Thursday, triggering an hours-long gunbattle that killed 15, including three top local officials, before they drove Afghan forces out.

The attack in the Khuja Omari district was the latest insurgent assault in Ghazni province, which is now largely under Taliban control. The Taliban planted mines to prevent government reinforcements from coming to help and quickly took responsibility for the attack.

 The insurgent group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said that after the attack in Khuja Omari – not far from the provincial capital also called Ghazni – all security posts in the district were under Taleban control. The district center, however, is still in government hands.

The province of Ghazni is located south of Kabul province, the seat of the country’s capital, Kabul, and lies along a key route. Travel by road between the capital and southern Kandahar province, a traditional Taliban heartland, is considered dangerous because of large swaths that are now under insurgent control.

 Mujahid gave a higher casualty figure among the Afghan forces, which the Taliban often do, exaggerating their achievements on the battlefield, and a significantly lower death toll among the insurgent attackers.

 A lawmaker in the Afghan Parliament, Mohammad Arif Rahmani, said the district governor, intelligence service director and a deputy police official were among those killed in Thursday’s attack.

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