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Suicide bombers attack Afghan governor's compound: Reuters witness

By Mohammad Aziz

PARWAN, Afghanistan (Reuters) - As many as six suicide bombers and insurgent gunmen attacked the compound of a provincial governor in central Afghanistan on Sunday, the governor and a Reuters witness said, with bursts of gunfire heard soon after the attack began.

The Reuters witness also reported hearing at least two large blasts during the attack on the Parwan provincial governor's compound. Parwan lies about an hour's drive northwest of the capital, Kabul.

"The enemies are still inside the compound. We are fighting back," Parwan governor Abdul Basir Salangi told private TOLO News television.

"Six suicide bombers attacked while we were holding a meeting," he said.

There was no immediate word on possible casualties.

Insurgents, often from the Taliban, have launched a series of attacks against government targets over the past year, often in the east of the country near the porous border with Pakistan's largely lawless tribal lands.

Violence across Afghanistan in 2010 reached its worst levels since the Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, and 2011 has followed a similar trend.

U.S. and other NATO commanders have claimed success in halting the momentum of a growing insurgency in the Taliban heartland in the south over the past year, although insurgents have shown a worrying ability to hit back with strikes against targets in once relatively peaceful parts of the country.

A recent spike in violence also followed the beginning of a gradual process to hand security responsibility back to Afghans last month.

That process will end with the final foreign combat troops leaving Afghanistan by the end of 2014, although some U.S. lawmakers have questioned whether that timetable is not quick enough.

(Editing by Paul Tait and Sanjeev Miglani)