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Taliban Attacks Afghan Aid Office

At least five people have been killed in an attack by Taliban fighters on the office of a US aid contractor in northern Afghanistan.

Afghan children walk along a street as smoke rises from a building in Kunduz after a suspected militant attack in the northern Afghan city. Three people including a German security guard were killed as suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a US aid organisation in Afghanistan in an attack claimed by the Taliban. (AFP) Armed men stormed the offices of Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) in Kunduz province early Friday morning.

The gunmen battled with Afghan police for more than five hours before police could secure the building and retrieve the bodies of the victims.

The US embassy in Kabul said that a German security guard was killed during the attack. Four other people, including two Afghan security guards, were also killed.

At least 20 other people were wounded, according to Mohammad Omar, the governor of the province.

A spokesman for the Taliban told Al Jazeera that six men took part in the attack. One of them was driving a car rigged with explosives, and blew himself up outside the gates.

Omar said a second attacker also blew himself up inside the base.

"The first suicide attacker detonated at the entrance, and the second detonated inside the premises, killing one foreign national," he said.

Foreign workers inside the compound fled to the roof to escape the fighting.

'Welcome' for Petraeus

The Taliban spokesman described the attack as a "welcome" for General David Petraeus, the new commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan. Petraeus arrived in Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Friday.

"This attack shows the insurgents' desire to prevent progress, and draws attention to their true goal of serving themselves rather than the people of Afghanistan," said Captain Jane Campbell, a spokesman for Nato.

DAI runs two aid programmes in Kunduz province, according to the US Agency for International Development. One programme provides grants for small businesses while the other works with farmers to improve agricultural technology.

The Taliban accused the company of providing intelligence and support to US troops.

Attacks on foreign aid workers are common in Afghanistan.

A 2009 report from the London-based Overseas Development Institute found that Afghanistan was one of the three most dangerous countries in the world for aid workers.

 Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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