By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gate of a government compound in eastern Afghanistan before dawn Friday, opening the way for armed insurgents to storm the facility and touching off an hours-long gunbattle that left 10 people dead, officials said.
The militants — 17 in all — attacked the compound in Nuristan province's Kamdesh district around 3 a.m. local time, said provincial Gov. Tamim Nuristani. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it matched the pattern of Taliban assaults that typically target Afghan government installations or the U.S.-led international military coalition.
The compound includes both the district government's offices and the homes of district officials and police. The dead included four women who live in houses in the compound, along with three policemen and three members of a government-sponsored militia.
The insurgents appeared to be targeting the house of the district government administrator, Nuristani said. The official's son was among the dead.
Gunfire and the sound of mortars or rocket-propelled grenades continued to sound well past midday as police and soldiers tried to fend off the attackers. The gunfight finally ended when the last militants were killed in the late afternoon, Nuristani said.
Remote Kamdesh district is in a mountainous area of the province near the Pakistani border that is hard for Afghan security forces to monitor.
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