KABUL -- An hours-long attack on an Afghan police special forces base involving car bombs and a firefight killed five policemen and wounded dozens of people, officials said Tuesday (October 27), as a top US negotiator called for an end to Afghanistan's bloodshed.
Three suicide bombers detonated their explosives-loaded vehicles targeting the base in Khost city, Khost provincial police chief Ghulam Daud Tarakhil told AFP, before other gunmen tried to storm the compound.
One suicide bomber detonated his vehicle at the gates of the base early in the morning, while two others blew up their vehicles later during the gun battle between security forces and gunmen, he said.
A fierce firefight that lasted for almost nine hours between the militants and security forces ended with the killing of seven other militants, Tarakhil said.
The assault left five policemen dead and wounded 33 other people, including nine civilians, Tarakhil added.
No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, three civilians were killed and 10 others were wounded in a separate attack October 27 when a "sticky bomb" attached to a car exploded near the Kabul airport, police said.
'Bloodshed must end'
Afghan and US officials have repeatedly warned that the rising bloodshed is threatening the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which started in Qatar last month.
"The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever," US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter October 27.
"Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives. Bloodshed must end."
In a separate statement, the US Department of State said Khalilzad will try to persuade the two sides to "accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap" that ends the conflict.
"The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire," it said.
The pace of civilian casualties has failed to slow since talks began September 12, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report released October 27.
The first nine months of this year saw 2,177 civilians killed and 3,822 wounded, the report said.