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Taliban Targets Afghan Government and Security Buildings 

U.S. State Department(KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) -- The Taliban's spring offensive in Afghanistan began in earnest over the weekend as militants attacked various government and security offices inside the southern city of Kandahar.

Authorities said the deadliest assault occurred Saturday, as 18 people were killed and at least 50 wounded in the latest offensive by the Taliban, which continues its attempts to undermine the Afghan government.  Most of the dead were insurgents who brandished guns and rocket-propelled grenades, while some wore suicide vests as they attacked the governor's office, police stations and the local intelligence headquarters.

Afghan security forces were able to repel virtually all of the invasions although two civilians and two security personnel were killed in the onslaught.  By Sunday, there were reports of scattered skirmishes, while the streets of the city were virtually abandoned by pedestrians and business people.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the violence, which he claimed was in retaliation for the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.  However, Taliban leaders insisted the Kandahar operation was planned weeks ago, before bin Laden was killed in Pakistan one week ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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