At least 33 people have been killed and more than 100 injured when militants launched an attack on a police training centre in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez on Tuesday (17 October). Among the killed was the provincial police chief Toryalai Abdyani.
Heavily armed gunmen stormed the headquarters by blasting through the facility's walls with explosive-laden trucks. At least two back-to-back explosions were reported in the building, located in Paktia province.
"At first a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training centre, making way for a number of attackers to start their assault," a government spokesperson said. The centre is still under siege and at least six militants have been shot dead by security forces.
Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the assault while authorities are scrambling to find out the extent of damage caused by the attack. "The car, packed with explosives, managed to come all the way inside, next to the police chief's room," said a local official Abdul Raouf Zadran.
Though the interior ministry confirmed the death of Abdyani, it has not given the exact number of people injured or killed in the bombings. Paktia province's public health officials said at least 33 people, including women and children, have been found dead so far.
Police facilities and security personnel are frequently targeted by Taliban Islamists, who have been engaged in a bloody armed insurgency against the government. The extremists have stepped up their attacks in recent years against the backdrop of a struggling administration and poorly equipped security establishment.