Afghanistan - Associated Press
Associated Press

Gunmen launched an attack on an intelligence training centre in Kabul Thursday, officials said, just a day after a suicide bomber killed dozens of students in the war-weary Afghan capital.

It was the latest incident in a blood-soaked week that saw militants deliver crippling blows to government forces across Afghanistan.

“Clashes are ongoing and the area is cordoned off by the Afghan security forces,” said Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai.

The firefight erupted near a training facility overseen by the National Security Directorate — Afghanistan’s intelligence agency — with the gunmen holed up in a construction site near residential homes, an official at the scene said.

A live feed on local broadcaster Tolonews showed the area cordoned off with gunfire echoing through the empty streets.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

The attack comes just hours after a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside an education centre in western Kabul, where students were studying for college entrance exams, killing at least 37 people.

The school bombing underscored the price that ordinary Afghans have paid in the grinding conflict as the country reels from a recent uptick in violence, including a massive, days-long Taliban onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni.

Afghan forces appear to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic provincial capital.

Small pockets of the city began opening up to humanitarian aid Thursday, while partial mobile service returned after telecommunications infrastructure and government buildings were destroyed during the fighting.

The surge in violence comes weeks after Afghans marked an unprecedented country-wide ceasefire between the Taliban and government forces in June, giving some relief to civilians.

Militant attacks and suicide bombings were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

Fighting has intensified in recent months as US and Afghan forces ramp up ground and air offensives against the Islamic State (IS), and the Taliban step up their turf war with the group.

The Taliban have not claimed a major assault in Kabul for weeks.

IS, however, has carried out multiple attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital in recent months, targeting sites ranging from government ministries to a midwife training centre.

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