Militants launch Afghan attacks

Taliban militants in Afghanistan have taken over a government building and are firing into the headquarters of the chief of police, officials say. Locals in the provincial capital of Logar province say the area has been evacuated amid reports of gun battles and Apache helicopters overhead.
One official described rockets hitting the building and small arms fire as the raid began in the city of Pul-i-Alam.
The attack comes 10 days before nationwide elections in Afghanistan.
According to eyewitnesses insurgents took up positions in an unfinished tower block and from there fired rockets into the government compounds in the city, which is close to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.
"The governor's building came under rocket attack from close range," local government spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish told AFP news agency.
Mr Darwish said attackers inside the buildings had been surrounded by the security forces.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, has claimed responsibility for the attack. He said that six fighters entered the buildings laden with explosives.
The number of casualties could not be immediately confirmed.
There are also reports that international forces' helicopters are flying overhead.
Nato-led forces operate in virtually all Afghan provinces, training Afghan troops and battling insurgents.
Taliban strategy
Taliban militants have carried out similar co-ordinated attacks on provincial cities in recent months
In July five people were killed in a series of strikes in eastern Afghanistan. This came after simultaneous assaults on government buildings in the city of Khost, also in eastern Afghanistan.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says that such attacks on provincial government compounds are designed to weaken the authority of the Afghan government.
The Taliban target provincial headquarters because they are not guarded as closely as institutions in Kabul, our correspondent says.
The significance of this attack is that it took place so close to the Afghan capital just days ahead of presidential elections.
Violence across the country has escalated in the run-up to presidential and provincial council polls on 20 August.
US and UK forces are currently engaged in a major offensive against Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan.