Gun battle between security forces & militants in Afghanistan

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Militants detonated bombs and stormed a government building in eastern Afghanistan, leaving at least six civilians dead, officials said.

Attahullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said a suicide vehicle bomb exploded outside the building, which belongs to the provincial finance directorate. Fourty-two people were also wounded.

Terrified employees flung themselves from windows to escape as security forces battled the attackers for more than four hours, before all four of them were killed, Khogyani said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Earlier, he said there had been two explosions.

The attack took place in a busy area of the city with many other official buildings nearby, including a school in which about 1,000 girls were trapped as the fighting raged.

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The attack targeted the tax and revenue office of Nangarhar Province in the city center of Jalalabad on May 13.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and IS since the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission. Both the Taliban and a local Islamic State affiliate have carried out numerous attacks in Nangarhar.

Militants have staged several attacks across Afghanistan this year. However, the Taliban is now taking part in its annual spring offensive and has launched a number of attacks in recent weeks.

Nine journalists, including AFP's chief photographer in Kabul Shah Marai, were among the 25 people killed in a double suicide blast claimed by IS in the capital on 30 April.

Heavy security forces arrived at the spot of the attack.

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