The Taliban struck a government compound in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday in a dawn attack that included two suicide truck bombings and left at least 12 people dead, including 10 policemen asleep in their quarters nearby.
The assault followed a stark message from the Taliban to world leaders gathered at a NATO summit in Wales, which will also discuss the drawdown of the alliance's mission in Afghanistan.
The exit of all foreign combat troops at the end of the year is proof that "no nation is able to subdue a free nation, especially a nation proud and free such as Afghanistan," the Taliban note said.
Thursday's attack started at sunrise, with the Taliban setting off two massive suicide truck bombs outside the government compound in the provincial capital of Ghazni, followed by an assault by nearly a dozen gunmen.
The assault triggered a gunbattle with policemen and security forces at the compound and all 21 assailants were subsequently killed, including the two suicide bombers, the Interior Ministry said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to media.
The bombs blew out many windows across the city, and left about 200 people injured, mostly from flying glass, said Ghazni Gov. Musa Khan Akbarzada. He said one truck carved a 10-meter (yard) hole into the ground. The Interior Ministry put the number of wounded at 130.
Sadly, the bombings also destroyed Ghazni's city library and two museums, the governor said.