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Afghan Militants Launch Attack on Election Headquarters

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KABUL - Militants launched an attack on Afghanistan's main election headquarters on Saturday, shooting rockets and firing machine guns at the compound, officials said.

Speaking on the telephone from a bunker inside the compound, Farid Aghanzai, a spokesperson for the elections commission, said the building had come under heavy rocket and machine-gun fire.

In a series of tweets, a Taliban spokesman claimed the group destroyed the main gate at the building and entered the Independent Election Commission compound.

However, police colonel Hafiz Khan told NBC News that the militants were holed up in a building next to the elections commission.

"We can only confirm that a number of armed insurgents have entered a building close to the Independent Election Commission,'' Kabul's police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told Reuters.

Almost 15 years after U.S. troops forced the Taliban from power, militants have promised to disrupt upcoming elections and stepped up attacks.

- F. Brinley Bruton and Jamieson Lesko contributed to this report.

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