Taliban attack on checkpoint in northern Baghlan province kills 44

Taliban attack on checkpoint in northern Baghlan province kills 44

Taliban attack on checkpoint in northern Baghlan province kills 44

And in northern Baghlan province, a late Tuesday Taliban assault killed 30 soldiers and police at two checkpoints.

With parliamentary elections due on October 20, the government had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, even while hopes of peace talks with the Taliban had been fuelled by a three day truce during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June.

In June, an unprecedented ceasefire marking the end of the Ramadan fasting season was brokenby a vehicle bomb that struck a gathering of Taliban and Afghan security officials, killing at least 20.

A suicide bombing killed and wounded scores of people Wednesday at an education center in a Shiite district of the Afghan capital, health officials said.

The resurgent Taliban carry out near-daily attacks against Afghan security forces, who have struggled to combat the insurgency since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014.

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"At around 4pm a suicide attacker who had strapped explosives to his body detonated himself inside the Mawoud education centre", police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have launched airstrikes and sent military advisers to aid Afghan forces as they fight for the city, which is just 75 miles from the capital, Kabul, and has a population of some 270,000 people.

With parliamentary elections due on October 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, but even so, the scale of the violence has come as a shock to a government facing bitter criticism over its handling of the war.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) that "life is getting back to normal" after at least 35 civilians were killed in recent days. He blamed insurgents, saying the rockets they fire at Afghan security forces often harm civilians.

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Nasart Rahimi, a deputy spokesman at the Interior Ministry, said security forces were searching every inch of Ghazni on Tuesday for remaining Taliban fighters.

Separately, six girls younger than 10 were killed when an unexploded mortar they picked up to play with suddenly exploded on Wednesday, officials in the eastern province of Laghman said.

Taliban also attacked a police checkpoint in the southern Zabul province early on Wednesday, killing four police, according to the provincial police chief, Mustafa Mayar, who said another three officers were wounded.

The violence underlined how an emboldened Taliban - which was ousted by American forces after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US - has been pressing its advantage throughout the country.

Afghan forces battled the insurgents for the fifth straight day in the eastern provincial capital of Ghazni, trying to flush them out of the city's outskirts.

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Afghanistan is littered with unexploded ordnance left by decades of war.

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