Gunmen Kill 7 in Attack on Muslim Council in Southern Afghan: Police
Ghulam Jilani, a medic at a local hospital, said the attack in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, wounded another five police and two civilians.
Habiba Sadat, a member of parliament from Helmand, confirmed the attack and said the assailants were still clashing with security forces.The Taliban have a strong presence in Helmand, and declared the start of their annual spring offensive last month.The Afghan Taliban, ousted from power in 2001 by US-led forces, have been fighting to bring down the US-backed government in Kabul, and stepped up attacks after most foreign forces pulled out at the end of last year.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack and said 15 officials were killed. The insurgents often exaggerate number of casualties they inflict.Helmand province has been the scene of number of deadly attacks by the Taliban.
Numbering some 3,000 clerics and scholars and headed by a 150-strong National Council, the powerful Ulemma can sway public opinion significantly through mosques across the country that are still main source of Afghan social cohesion.
Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks against Afghan forces since they announced their “spring offensive” last month.
The Oslo Times and Agencies