Eight Taliban fighters equipped with suicide vests and automatic weapons attacked government buildings in western Afghanistan on Wednesday morning, officials said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zamarai Bashary said seven attackers were killed by Afghan forces in Zaranj, the capital of the western province of Nimruz.

“Seven of the bombers were killed in their own explosions or by our forces,” General Jabar Purdeli, provincial police chief, told the German Press Agency dpa. He said the last militant was holed up inside a government building and the fighting continued The militants stormed several buildings during the morning attack, including the provincial council office, justice department and some residences near the city centre, Gen. Purdeli said.

“There are some civilian casualties, but I can not give any figures at the moment,” he added.

Explosions and gunfire could be heard from several buildings including the office compound of the provincial governor, local resident Khial Mohammad said.

“The people have deserted the city and the fighting is still ongoing,” he said.

Rebel fighters also attacked an eastern district near the Pakistan border, officials said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents attacked Dur Baba in the eastern province of Nangarhar Tuesday night and killed 15 Afghan troops. He said two rebels were killed during two hours of combat.

But a spokesman for the provincial government rejected the claim.

“The Dur Baba district is under control of Afghan forces,” Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

He denied that any government soldiers were killed, saying that the soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels, but did not provide any figures.

Officials say the insurgents regularly infiltrate Afghanistan from Pakistani tribal areas to attack government and NATO troops, and then retreat across the border.

Keywords: Bomb blasts

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