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Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 14:13 UK

Multiple attacks hit Afghan city

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Afghan troops respond to the incident as smoke rises above buildings in Khost

Six people have been killed in simultaneous attacks on government buildings in the city of Khost in eastern Afghanistan, officials say.

Militants took hostages when they launched assaults on the offices of the provincial governor and municipal administration, reports say.

Officials have described the situation in Khost as chaotic following multiple suicide blasts and gun battles.

A Taleban spokesman has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Zabihullah Mujahid told the AFP news agency: "Thirty of our fighters armed with suicide cars, suicide jackets and guns have entered the city."

Interior ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary could not confirm the number of militants involved, but said that a team of suicide bombers targeted two government buildings.

Officials said that security forces fired on the attackers as they launched their assault. Witnesses have described gun battles and explosions as the militants struck.

Troops were deployed into Khost to contain the assault and security forces were said to be searching the city for militants who may have escaped.

One report said that US forces were ambushed by insurgents as they responded to the incidents.

Khost violence

Map

The provincial governor and Khost's mayor were unharmed in the incident but health officials have reported a number of injuries.

The province of Khost has witnessed frequent clashes between coalition forces and the Taleban

In recent months militants have carried out attacks targeting several locations simultaneously, a sign of their increasing sophistication, analysts say.

The attacks came as the US replaced its top commander in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was recently confirmed as the primary focus of US military operations.

The US is sending 21,000 additional troops to the country, to join an existing force of 38,000.



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