A car bomb attack on an Afghan police special forces base followed by an ongoing gun battle have killed three policemen and wounded dozens of people, officials said Tuesday.
Militants detonated the car bomb outside the gate of the base in the city of Khost near the Pakistan border early in the morning, a security source said, before trying to storm the compound.
A gun battle between the attackers and security forces was ongoing, officials and an AFP correspondent reported.
Four attackers have been killed while two more were still fighting, Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters.
The assault has so far left three policemen dead and wounded 33 people, including 11 civilians, Sakhi Sardar, a senior official at Khost hospital told AFP.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Khost, a restive province, is home to active Taliban and also al-Qaeda fighters, officials say.
Three civilians were killed and ten others were wounded in a separate attack Tuesday when a “sticky bomb” attached to a car exploded near Kabul airport, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramuz said in a statement.
Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent weeks even as the Taliban and Afghan government remain engaged in peace talks to end the country’s long-running conflict.
Afghan and US officials have repeatedly warned that the rising bloodshed was threatening the talks being held in Qatar since last month.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report released on Tuesday that the number of civilians killed and wounded has failed to slow since the start of peace talks on September 12.
“The peace talks will need some time to help deliver peace,” UNAMA chief Deborah Lyons said in the report.
“But all parties can immediately prioritize discussions and take urgent, and frankly overdue, additional steps to stem the terrible harm to civilians.”
UNAMA, however, said that the overall civilian casualty figure had dropped by around 30 percent in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the corresponding period last year.
The first nine months of this year saw 2,177 civilians killed and 3,822 wounded, the report said.
The majority of the civilian casualties, about 58 percent, were caused by “anti-government elements” like the Taliban and Islamic State group, it said.
Afghan security forces were responsible for 23 percent of all civilian casualties, many killed in air strikes and ground engagements.