Taliban Kills Scores Across Afghanistan in 'Biggest Terrorist Attack This Year'

At least 71 have been killed, including police and civilians, as the Islamist militant group targets government targets

Smoke rises from police HQ after a suicide car bomber and gunmen attacked the provincial police headquarters in Gardez, Afghanistan October 17, 2017.
STRINGER/REUTERS

Taliban militants struck government targets in many provinces of Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 71 people, including a senior police commander, and wounding scores of others.

Afghanistan's deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, told a press conference in Kabul that the attacks on Tuesday were the "biggest terrorist attack this year."

He said in one of the attacks, in southern Paktia province, 41 people — 21 policemen and 20 civilians — were killed when the Taliban targeted a police compound in the provincial capital of Gardez with two suicide car bombs. Scores were also wounded — 48 policemen and 110. The provincial police chief was among those killed in the Paktia attack.

Dozens of dead and wounded were taken to the city hospital, even as many more lay where they fell during the fighting, deputy public health director Hedayatullah Hameedi said.

The Taliban, seeking to re-impose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by U.S.-led forces, claimed responsibility.

The militant group also attacked a district center in neighboring Ghazni province on Tuesday, detonating an armored Humvee vehicles packed with explosives near the provincial governor's office.

Provincial officials said at least 15 government security forces were killed and 12 wounded in the Ghazni attacks, with 13 civilians killed and seven wounded.

The Taliban said they had killed 31 security forces and wounded 21 in those clashes.

Despite the staggering numbers, Murad said Afghan forces are confident in their "readiness to fight terrorists and eliminate them from Afghanistan."

Fighting was also reported near local government center in Farah and Kandahar provinces.