Taliban attacks kill 2, 19 hurt

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iol pic wld Afghanistan~9 AP File picture: An Afghan woman clad in burqa walks past a soldier at a checkpoint.

Kabul -

An Afghan soldier and a woman were killed Friday when Taliban militants launched simultaneous attacks on five districts of the eastern Kunar province.

Meanwhile, 19 civilians were injured in a bomb blast at a mosque in the adjacent Nangarhar province, officials said.

Hundreds of militants armed with light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades attacked Shigal, Dangam, Marawara, Watapur and Manogay districts before dawn, according to provincial police chief Ewaz Mohammad Naziri.

He said foreign nationals, mostly Pakistani fighters, had crossed the border to join the Taliban in the attacks.

“Afghan and international troops resisted the Taliban's attacks, and the attackers were forced to escape to mountainous border areas after hours of fighting,” Naziri said, adding that dozens of Taliban fighters had been killed.

The Taliban confirmed the attacks, claiming their fighters had attacked eight districts and the provincial capital, Assadabad.

“The Afghan and foreign troops suffered heavy casualties during the attacks, which are still continuing in some areas,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, calling it the biggest attack in Kunar this year.

In a separate incident, a bomb exploded in a mosque in the Chaprehar district of Nangarhar province, injuring 19 civilians including the mullah, police said.

“The people were at Friday prayer when the bomb went off in the front part of the mosque, injuring 19 civilians standing in the front row, including the mullah,” said provincial police chief Abdullah Stanikzay.

He said that nobody was killed, and seven of the injured were allowed to go home after brief hospital treatment.

This is the second mosque bombing in a week, coming days after a mullah was killed and four other civilians were injured in a bomb blast in the southern province of Uruzgan. - Sapa-dpa

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