PARWAN, Afghanistan, (Reuters) – Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 22 people in a bold attack on a governor’s compound in central Afghanistan during a security meeting on Sunday, officials said, with gunbattles and several blasts heard before the assault was put down.
A Reuters witness and others nearby reported hearing at least five explosions as Afghan security forces inside the compound of Parwan governor Abdul Basir Salangi fought back.
Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said 22 people were killed and 34 wounded. The dead included 16 government employees and six police, it said in a statement.
Parwan lies about an hour’s drive northwest of the capital, Kabul, another worrying sign of the reach of the Taliban and other insurgents.
Eight days ago, a rocket-propelled grenade fired by the Taliban brought down a NATO helicopter in another central Afghan province near Kabul, killing 30 U.S. troops and eight Afghans in the worst single incident for foreign forces in 10 years of war.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Parwan attack. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamist group, said the assault began when a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives at the gate of the compound.