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June 23, 2017

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Suicide attackers hit foreign base in Afghanistan: official

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan--A team of Taliban suicide attackers struck at a U.S.-led NATO reconstruction team in unstable south Afghanistan Sunday, officials said.

The attack hit the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. Initial reports suggested that two of people were injured.

PRTs are typically joint military and civilian operations that work on trying to help build Afghan government capacity in a province. There are around 28 of them in total across Afghanistan.

The deputy governor of Zabul, Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, said that the incident was now over.

"I can confirm that a group of Taliban attackers, some of them suicide attackers, have conducted attacks on the PRT as well as police headquarters. There has been one big blast near the PRT office," Rasoulyar said.

"At first, there was a huge suicide car bomb, then the gunfire started."

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqui confirmed that there had been a suicide car bombing at the PRT.

"The attacker rammed his car into the wall of the PRT office. Initial information shows that two people have been injured in the blast," Siddiqui said.

General Mohammad Salim Ihsas, the police commander for the region, said that four suicide attackers struck at the PRT.

"One of them detonated himself at the gate of the PRT while three attackers stormed the PRT compound causing property damage," he said.

"One suicide attacker was arrested with a rocket launcher and AK-47, another suicide attacker was arrested wounded, the third one ran away and the police are trying to catch him."

Ihsas also said two people were wounded in the attack — a man and a woman, both civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the strike in a phone call by spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi to AFP.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not immediately have information on the attack.

In May, four people were killed in the western city of Herat when the Taliban launched an attack on the Italian-led PRT there and another strike elsewhere in the city.

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