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At least 23 killed in attacks in Afghanistan, officials say

Taliban attacks kill more than 20 people in Afghanistan

A series of attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan has killed 23 members of the Afghan security forces and one civilian, officials said Tuesday.

Officials said the violence began when two Taliban gunmen stormed a training center in the the capital of Kandahar province Monday evening.

Zia Durrani, spokesman for the Kandahar police, said a civilian woman was killed in the crossfire between the Afghan National Police and the gunmen. One police officer was also injured in the attack, which lasted several hours.

The Taliban confirmed in a series of online messages that it was behind the attack.

Elsewhere, Pajhwok, an Afghan news service, reported that 14 police officers and seven Afghan soldiers were killed in a series of Taliban attacks in Nawzad district in the southern province of Helmand. Officials said they did not have immediate information on casualties.

Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said five of their fighters were killed.

Violence has been rising in Afghanistan this spring as Taliban insurgents mount an offensive that has taken aim at Afghan security forces and civilians.

On Monday, a Taliban-claimed suicide bombing in Qalat, the capital of the southern province of Zabul, left at least 70 people injured, including civilians.

Mirwais Noorzai, provincial police chief, said at least four of the injured were in critical condition. Women and children were also among the wounded.

Early Tuesday, four attackers, including at least one suicide bomber, rushed a court in the eastern province of Maidan Wardak, officials said.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the acting provincial governor, told local media that the attackers dressed in police uniforms stormed the court building in the provincial capital, Maidan Shar.

Two police officers and the four attackers were killed in the attack. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.

Khalil Andarabi, provincial police chief, said three civilians were also wounded.

The attacks come days after President Ashraf Ghani named Mohammed Massoom Stanekzai as his choice to head the Ministry of Defense, a post that had been in the hands of a caretaker for several months.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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