Afghanistan: Gunmen attack spy training center in Kabul

Afghan volunteers carry a body on a stretcher to a hospital Wednesday after a suicide attack in Kabul

The attack on the training facility was the latest incident in a blood-soaked week that saw militants deliver crippling blows to government forces across Afghanistan.

While it has been months since The Taliban have claimed a major attack in Kabul, the group has been conducting blistering attacks on security forces across Afghanistan, including a massive, days-long onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni during the past week.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, four policemen were killed and four were seriously wounded late Wednesday when they tried to defuse a auto bomb they found in southern Kandahar province, according to Zia Durrani, provincial police spokesman. He did not say if all the victims were students and whether any of their teachers were also among the casualties. The Taliban issued a statement denying any involvement in the attack.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan called for the fighting to stop, saying up to 150 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Ghazni, where the public hospital was overwhelmed and water and electricity supplies cut.

Islamic State, which has carried out previous attacks on Shi'ites in Kabul, has claimed responsibility.

Kabul has been targeted by at least 16 attacks since January.

"A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said the group targeted a military base and two checkposts in Baghlan, killing 70 Afghan security forces, and seizing armoured vehicles and ammunition". That assault began last Friday.

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At least 35 Ghazni civilians have been killed, said Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

According to local officials, over 40 security force members surrendered after they received no help nor ammunition supplies despite repeated requests.

Also on Wednesday, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in southern Zabul province, killing several police officers, a police chief told the AP.

The brief respite sparked hopes the truce could clear the way for talks to end the almost 17-year-old conflict.

"They were facing severe shortages of food and drinking water as the power supply was also suspended two days ago", a Taliban commander, who declined to be identified, said by telephone.

The surge in violence comes just weeks after Afghans marked an unprecedented country-wide ceasefire between the Taliban and government forces in June, giving some temporary relief to civilians.

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