Taliban attack on district in southern Afghanistan kills 7

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban attack on a district government headquarters in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province on Monday killed at least seven people, an Afghan official said.

Among those killed in the pre-dawn attack in Khas Uruzgan district were five policemen, a former district chief and a school principal, according to Abdul Kareem Karimi, the district chief administrative official.

Government forces remain in control of the district, even with the limited number of policemen there, said Karim but warned that they could be overwhelmed unless reinforcements arrive soon. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.

Insurgents have stepped up their attacks on Afghan soldiers and police forces in recent months, after U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of last year.

Also, the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive in late April, and have rolled out a fierce battlefield strategy across the country's north and east, forcing the government to spread its security forces thin on many fronts.

Targeted assassinations of government and judicial officials have also been on the rise.

Gunmen on Monday shot dead the chief of volatile Nawa district in southern Helmand province, according to province Gov. Mohammad Nahim Balouch. He said that Mohammad Manaf was killed as he was driving through Ab Band district in Ghazni province.

And in northern Jawzjan province, a court employee was shot dead by a gunman on a motorbike as he was driving home in Shibirghan district, said the spokesman for the province police chief, Abdul Manon Raoufi.

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