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Afghan Official Says 20 Forces Killed In Coordinated Attacks

Afghan Army soldiers captured a suspected militant after several armed militants attacked a TV station in the eastern city of Jalalabad on May 17.

Militants launched attacks on several checkpoints in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 20 security forces, according to a provincial official.

Gul Islam Seyal, spokesman for the provincial governor in Zabul Province, said on May 21 that the battles began late the previous day when dozens of Taliban fighters launched coordinated attacks on security posts in the Shah Joy district.

At least 10 other security forces, including national and local police officers, were wounded, he said.

Seyal said the Taliban also fired mortar rounds on the provincial capital Qalat.

The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility, but it has stepped up attacks in Afghanistan since announcing its spring offensive last month.

Also on May 21, officials said a German woman and an Afghan security guard were killed and a Finnish woman kidnapped from a Kabul guesthouse overnight.

Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the killings occurred shortly before midnight on May 20. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack or the kidnapping. He said Kabul police have begun an investigation.

Karoliina Romanoff, spokeswoman for Finnish Foreign Ministry, confirmed that a Finnish citizen was kidnapped but had no details.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it demands "the immediate release of the kidnapped person."

Based on reporting by AFP and AP