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Monday, October 3, 2016, 15:39

Taliban launch attacks in Afghanistan's north and south

By Reuters
Taliban launch attacks in Afghanistan's north and south
In this photograph taken on Oct 2, 2016, Afghan National Army commandos take position during a military operation in Helmand province. ( Noor Mohammad / AFP)

Esmatullah, a 22-year-old local shopkeeper from Kunduz who uses only one name, told The Associated Press that he couldn't leave his home to open his shop because of the fighting.

"We are extremely worried that the Taliban might be able to get control of the city," he said.

Doctors Without Borders had planned a memorial service on Monday for the victims of the US military bombing of their hospital in Kunduz a year ago, but the ceremony was cancelled, the international charity said.

In Helmand, where most of Afghanistan's opium is produced from poppy fields effectively controlled by the Taliban, insurgents attacked a police headquarters in Naway district, killing the local police chief.

Afzel Khan, a policeman who survived the attack, said a suicide car bomber hit the compound around 2.30 am, blasting through the gate and allowing gunmen in afterward.

Provincial spokesman Omar Zwak said police chief Ahmad Shah Khan was killed. Zwak couldn't confirm other casualties and denied the district had fallen to the Taliban.

Officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said at least 10 policemen were killed in the attack and another 20 wounded. The figures could not be officially confirmed.

Zwak said the Taliban had also attacked in Helmand's Nad Ali district, but he had no further details. Opium produced in Helmand is worth around US$3 billion a year, which helps fund the insurgency.

Elsewhere on Monday, an Afghan soldier was killed and three were wounded when a bicycle bomb targeted an army vehicle in the country's capital, said Sadiq Muradi, a Kabul police official. No group immediately claimed responsibility for that bombing.

In northern Jawzjan province, at least six people were killed and around 45 wounded when a bomb rigged to a motorcycle was detonated by remote control in a busy shopping district, according to Mohammad Reza Ghafori, the provincial governor's spokesman. He said the attack took place in the Darzab district on Monday, a bazaar day, and that he expected the death toll to rise.

Taliban launch attacks in Afghanistan's north and south
Map of Afghanistan locating Helmand province, where the Taliban launched an assault Monday.

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