Troops, Militants Engage In Gunfight In Afghanistan

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TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan, July 28 (UPI) — At least 22 people were killed Thursday before elite Afghan forces repelled an insurgent attack on a market in the southern province of Uruzgan.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack in Tarin Kowt, which was carried out by eight people, three of them suicide bombers, the BBC reported. All eight were killed.

The attack appeared to be aimed at senior officials in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital. An aide to the governor told CNN in a phone interview that the governor remained in hiding in his compound..

The dead included two Afghan soldiers, three women and Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, a reporter for the Pajhwok news agency and the BBC Pashto service. Khpulwak died with several other people when a building housing a radio and television station was attacked.

At least 40 people were hurt, health officials said.

The attackers entered the market from all four sides, witnesses said. Elite Afghan troops quelled the attack, while NATO said it provided air cover.

Mohammad Dadu, a butcher at the market, said the attack was so sudden he did not have time to close up.

“It feels like doomsday,” he said. “Every day people came to the market to shop. But today people are here collecting the dead and injured bodies of their relatives. There is blood, smoke from explosives, and everyone has fled the area.”

Peter Horrocks, the BBC’s global news director, paid tribute to Khpulwak.

“The BBC and the whole world are grateful to journalists like Ahmed Omed who courageously put their lives on the line to report from dangerous places,” he said.

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