The Taliban launched its annual “spring offensive” Monday with a series of attacks across Afghanistan.
In the eastern city of Jalalabad, militants entered a provincial justice ministry building, triggering a shootout with police. Two policemen and at least four civilians were killed before the three attackers, including a suicide bomber, were killed in the provincial capital of Nangarhar.
In nearby Ghazni province, officials say militants attacked police checkpoints, killing at least three people, including one policeman.
And rockets hit Kabul’s international airport and the NATO base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital. There were no reports of injuries in either attack. The international coalition said there is minor damage to equipment and a building.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, which come at the start of an offensive announced last week.
In a statement posted on the militant group’s website, the Taliban says the offensive will include insider attacks and assaults on “large and well-fortified enemy bases.”
International combat troops are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Some forces could remain in the country after December 2014 in a training and advisory role if Afghan leaders approve a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.
U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban-led government in 2001.
An Afghan Defense Ministry called the Taliban message offensive propaganda and said Afghan security forces will continue to ensure the security of the Afghan people.
Despite Taliban threats to disrupt the vote and a run-up of violence, Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential election took place without any major attacks.
Final election results are due to be released on May 14, with a run-off election planned for next month since no candidate is expected to win a majority.