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Afghanistan: 12 children killed in suicide-bomb attack

Suicide bombers killed at least 19 people, 12 of them children, in an attack yesterday on government buildings in southern Afghanistan, the latest blow to a fragile region that has been destabilised by a string of assassinations.

The attack in Uruzgan province also wounded 35 civilians, provincial officials said, and was the deadliest in the south in nearly six months.

It began when two remote-controlled car bombs exploded in front of the provincial Governor's compound and near the offices for the regional state television channel, Uruzgan TV. Up to six suicide bombers then stormed the Governor's compound and the police chief's compound in Tirin Kot, capital of Uruzgan, the Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

Three bombers detonated their explosives while the remaining attackers were locked in a gunfight with police inside the compounds.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes the day after the killing of the Mayor of Kandahar and the same month as the assassination of President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, considered the most powerful man in the south.

Most of the dead were civilians, among them 12 children between the ages of five and 13 who were waiting with their families for national-identity numbers required to enroll in government schools. A reporter who worked for an Afghan news agency and the BBC was also killed.