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Forces in Afghanistan Foil Attempt on Provincial Governor’s Life

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2009 – Afghan and U.S. forces killed eight insurgents and repelled a complex suicide attack May 11 by multiple groups on government buildings in Khost, the capital of the eastern Afghanistan province of the same name.

During the engagement, the forces foiled an attempt on the provincial governor’s life.

Shortly before noon, a suicide bomber dressed as an Afghan security forces member attacked the governor’s compound, while two others wearing suicide vests were killed by Afghan and U.S. forces. An additional suicide vest was found at the scene.

Moments later, a group of suicide bombers stormed the Khost municipal building and took several civilian hostages. One militant was killed before entering the building. Two explosions heard inside the building during the siege were later determined to be from a pair of suicide bombers who detonated themselves.

Afghan and U.S. forces entered the municipal building and immediately began taking fire. They returned fire, killingtwo insurgents. Four hostages were freed after the combined force cleared the building and eliminated the threat.

The combined forces overcame and disabled the attackers in less than five hours. U.S. military leaders and analysts said they believe the attacks were conducted for propaganda effects.

“The actions of the Afghan national security forces should be commended,” Army Col. Greg Julian, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, said. “Their responsiveness and courage limited the extent of the civilian casualties. Their response made this terrorist attack militarily insignificant. The terrorists achieved nothing against the government of Afghanistan, and only further demonstrated their disregard for innocent civilians.”

Six Afghan security forces members and three U.S. servicemembers were injured during the engagement. Seven civilians were killed, and at least 20 others were wounded in the attacks.

Afghan and U.S. security forces continue to search for any other possible insurgents and threats, officials said, and are helping the local government with medical care for the injured.

(From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release.)

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