Five Taliban suicide bombers attacked on Sunday a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan, leaving scores of deaths and injuries, officials announced.
The attack began around 6:30 a.m. (0200 GMT) when one bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at the gate of the police headquarters in Gardez city, capital of Paktia province, said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
Four more attackers stormed the gate after the blast, with at least two quickly killed by police. The others held out against Afghan special forces that had responded to the attack, he said.
Danish put the toll at two police killed and five wounded.
However, doctors at the city hospital said they had received the bodies of at least five police, as well as at least 30 wounded people, including 20 civilians.
One of the explosions was so strong it shattered windows up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the attack site, said Abdullah Hsrat, spokesman for the provincial governor.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid reporting more than 100 police were killed and wounded. The extremist group often exaggerates casualty numbers in attacks against government targets and security forces.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Logar province, gunmen shot and killed the head of the police’s criminal investigation department, said Salim Saleh, spokesman for provincial governor. He said a bodyguard was wounded in the attack late Saturday in Puli Alim, the provincial capital. An investigation is underway.
Insurgent groups like the Taliban and ISIS have launched a string of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks.
ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a mosque in Kabul on Thursday.
A massive truck bombing and later suicide attacks left hundreds dead and wounded at the end of May and beginning of June, raising political tensions for the Afghan government, which is struggling to combat rising violence and corruption.
Thousands of international troops remain in the country to train and assist Afghan security forces as well as carry out counterterrorism missions.
American defense officials say in coming weeks they will decide whether to send between 3,000 to 5,000 more troops as requested by military commanders.