Taliban attacks government compound in Afghanistan, 18 killed

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The Taliban claim to have taken control of key parts of the Khwaja Omari district, but provincial officials deny that.

"They (Taliban) came and set fire to the district governor's office, killed 30 people, took some equipment of the district with them".

"All parties to the conflict in Afghanistan must do everything in their power to protect civilians from harm", said Ingrid Hayden, the secretary-general's deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents overran a government headquarters in southeastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing a district governor and at least six guards, officials said.

His claim could not be independently confirmed and the government did not immediately respond to it.

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The Taliban denied local official reports that 50 of the assailants had been killed after the arrival of government reinforcements.

Mohammad Arif Noori, a spokesman for the governor of Ghazni Province, said that Taliban insurgents attacked the government compound of Khwaja Umari district. It said three militants also died and four others were wounded. The Taliban used heavy weapons, he said. Fifteen security forces were killed.

Ramazan Ali Moseni, a deputy chief police in Ghazni province, said 25 Taliban were killed in the gunbattle that started Wednesday night and lasted into the morning.

"After the attack the forces called for air support and 27 Taliban were killed during the airstrikes and clashes", it added.

Fighting went on for about three hours until fresh troops were deployed to the district and the Taliban escaped from the area. Nine other security personnel were also wounded.