Would—be suicide attackers targeted the offices of a charity in a southern Afghanistan city on Wednesday morning but were killed by security guards before they could detonate their explosives—laden vests, an official said.

One foreign employee was wounded in the attack on the office of International Relief and Development in the town of Lashkar Gah, said Dawood Ahmadi, spokesman for the government in Helmand province.

Two gunmen wearing suicide vests burst into the compound that houses the IRD office. The first was shot by security guards and the second returned fire and was killed in the ensuing gun-battle, Mr. Ahmadi said. The charity offices are next to a government education department and officials initially thought that office was also under attack.

Lashkar Gah is the closest major town to Marjah, where thousands of NATO troops have been fighting to oust the Taliban from their largest stronghold and operational hub in Helmand province.

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