Taliban storms Afghan police compound in deadly attack

Security forces are deployed at the site of suicide attacks and a clash between Taliban insurgents and government forces in the main police station in eastern Paktia province, Afghanistan, Sunday, Jun 18, 2017.

Ihsanullah Mahjoor/AP

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban stormed a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday after striking it with two suicide car bombs, killing at least five police, officials said. 

Another nine police and nine civilians were wounded in the attack, said Sardar Wali Tabasim, spokesman for the police chief of Paktia province.

He said one of the attackers detonated his suicide vest and two others were shot dead by police as they tried to enter the compound, which also houses the regional command for Afghanistan's eastern provinces. The last attacker held out for hours inside a dining hall as security forces worked to evacuate kitchen staff sheltering nearby, Tabasim said. The gunman was eventually killed later in the afternoon, he said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to media.

One of the explosions was so strong it shattered windows up to 1.2 miles from the attack site, said Abdullah Hsrat, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Logar province, gunmen shot and killed the head of the police's criminal investigation department, said Salim Saleh, spokesman for provincial governor. He said a bodyguard was wounded in the attack late Saturday in Puli Alim, the provincial capital. An investigation is underway.

CBS News' national security correspondent David Martin reported Friday that the Pentagon is making plans to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. While the number is currently expected to be between 3,000 and 5,000 troops, the number is still being worked on.

The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced soon. It follows President Trump's move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan that he doesn't have enough forces to help Afghanistan's army against a resurgent Taliban insurgency. 

The rising threat posed by Islamic State extremists, evidenced in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city of Kabul, has only fueled calls for a stronger U.S. presence, as have several recent American combat deaths.

On Sunday, an Afghan soldier opened fire on U.S. troops, wounding at least seven, the U.S. military said. No U.S. service members or foreign fighters were killed in the attack. It was the second such insider attack by an Afghan soldier in the past week.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid praised the attack in a statement sent to the media. But he did not claim Taliban responsibility.