Militants kill one in attack on interior ministry in Kabul


Gen. John Nicholson, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon from his Kabul office, said USA forces "believe it was a Taliban-Haqqani attack, but we're still developing that information".

"The explosion happened very close to the building, and the fighters were attempting to go inside,"Najib Danish, interior ministry spokesman, told Al Jazeera."The assault is over now, and a search operation is under way".

The militants traded fire with security force before they were killed within minutes. No one immediately claimed the attack.

The Trump administration has relaxed rules of engagement in Afghanistan in response to growing threats from the Taliban and other insurgent groups and has coupled that with a surge of 3,000 more us troops and additional American firepower into the country - the linchpin in the White House's regional strategy announced in August.

In recent days, security in the capital has tightened after the government warned of "complex attacks" by the Taliban on government or foreign installations, according to AP.

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After pushing out fighters in Farah, Afghan and USA forces continued to pursue them, Nicholson told reporters at the Pentagon via video link.

It was a rare victory for Afghan security forces, who have struggled to secure the capital in recent months amid relentless attacks by the Taliban and the IS affiliate in Afghanistan.

The statement further added that the militants managed to reach to the entrance gate of the ministry compound by disguising themselves in military uniforms and using armored vehicles.

Last week, a USA government watchdog group said the administration's revamped strategy has made little progress against the Taliban insurgency, leaving the country a "dangerous and volatile" place almost 17 years after the US invaded. Seven gunmen then attempted to enter the compound, said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish.

While saying the United States attack had disrupted the Taliban network in Helmand province, including its drug trafficking, Nicholson stopped short of saying the killing of dozens of insurgent commanders would have a decisive impact on the war.

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Among the dead were the commander of the police station and the deputy director of traffic police for the provincial capital, Puli Alim, said Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The firefight ended by 3 p.m., he said, and all the gunmen had been killed. However, a police officer who declined to be identified said the toll was higher than reported.

Sources have said National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives were prevented by police force members from entering the area to help end the attack.

The Taliban claimed the attack.

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