Taliban militants launched a number of apparently co-ordinated attacks in two towns in eastern Afghanistan, leaving at least seven militants and six Afghan security personnel dead.
Five Taliban militants wearing explosive vests staged a series of attacks in the town of Gardez, located in Paktia province. They hit the governor's compound, the city's intelligence unit and a police department, local officials said.
A suicide bombing in front of the city's police station killed two police officers, while a militant fired a rocket at the city's intelligence department and killed three officers, said Ghulam Dastagir, deputy provincial police chief of Paktia province. A rocket was also fired at the governor's house, he said.
A second suicide bomber at the police station was shot and killed, as were three suicide bombers who tried to attack the governor's house, Mangal said.
At least two of the suicide bombers were dressed as women in burqas when they were shot and killed inside the city, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.
Militants also tried to stage attacks in another eastern town, Jalalbad, at about the same time. A gun battle broke out in the city located near the Pakistan border, and two suicide bombers on a motorbike and a police officer were killed, said Mohammad Ayub Salangi, the provincial police chief.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed his group was responsible for the attacks in both towns. He said 15 militants, all wearing suicide vests and bearing AK-47 guns and rockets, carried out the attacks.
Taliban militants over the last year have launched several complex attacks, which usually involve multiple suicide bombers and additional gunmen.
They have been launched in Kabul, the capital, and Kandahar, the Taliban's spiritual birthplace. Analysts say al-Qaeda fighters provide the training that help militants here to carry out such attacks.