Taliban militants struck government targets in many provinces of Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 69 people, including a senior police commander, and wounding scores of others.
The deadliest attack hit a police training centre attached to the police headquarters in Gardez, main city of Paktia province.
Two Taliban suicide car bombers paved the way for a number of gunmen to attack the compound, officials and militants said. At least 21 police officers were killed, including the Paktia provincial police chief, with 48 others wounded, according to government officials.
The attack also left at least 20 civilians dead and 110 wounded, the Interior Ministry said. Security forces killed at least five attackers.
Dozens of dead and wounded were taken to the city hospital, even as many more lay where they fell during the fighting, deputy public health director Hedayatullah Hameedi said.
The Taliban, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by U.S.-led forces, claimed responsibility.
The militant group also attacked a district centre in neighbouring Ghazni province on Tuesday, detonating an armoured Humvee vehicles packed with explosives near the provincial governor’s office.
Provincial officials said at least 15 government security forces were killed and 12 wounded in the Ghazni attacks, with 13 civilians killed and seven wounded.
The Taliban said they had killed 31 security forces and wounded 21 in those clashes.
Fighting was also reported near local government centres in Farah and Kandahar provinces.