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Afghan police, Taliban militants shoot it out in Kabul

RIA Novosti


KABUL, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - Afghan police engaged in a gun battle in the center of Kabul on Monday with Taliban militants suspected of being part of a suicide bombing, local media reported.

Suicide bombers attacked the Afghan finance and justice ministries and a bank in the country's capital, Kabul.

The blasts occurred near the presidential palace. The area was reportedly cordoned off by the country's security forces.

According to local media reports, one terrorist blew himself near the presidential palace. There was no immediate information on casualties. The area was cordoned off by security forces searching for the militants, who reportedly hid at a nearby market after entering Kabul.

Violence surged in the country in 2009, with the radical Islamic Taliban group staging regular attacks on provincial government officials, police and civilians and planting roadside devices as part of its fight against U.S. and NATO troops.

In early December, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the first part of 2010 to defeat the Taliban.

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