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President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and said it was carried out by "Afghanistan's enemy", a reference to the Taliban.

On Thursday morning, the Taliban stormed a government compound in the central province of Ghazni, triggering an hours-long gun battle that killed 15, including three top local officials. The province is reportedly under Taliban control.

Interior Ministry officials said that apart from Ali Dost Shams, the district chief, 14 other security forces were killed in the attack, but Arif Rahmani, an MP from the province, and Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, a member of the provincial council, put the loss of civilian officials and security forces at 30. Rahmani said the attackers planted mines to stop reinforcements from coming to help the government forces fend off the attack.

Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn raid on a district government compound in Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least seven people including the local governor, officials said. He added that the checkpoint was eight kilometers (five miles) from the district center.

"In the attack, three mujahideen were martyred and four others were wounded".

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Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid, in a statement to media, said the militants had taken the key parts of the district including the district and police headquarters.

The attack Thursday night in Shindand district lasted for hours.

"After the attack the forces called for air support and 27 Taliban were killed during the airstrikes and clashes", it added. Travel by road between Kabul and Kandahar province, a traditional Taliban heartland, is considered risky because of large swaths are now under Taliban control.

Shindand district governor Shukrullah Shakir confirmed the casualty figures.