January 29, 2010 / 5:51 AM / 9 years ago

Gunmen holed-up in building in southern Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman takes up position where the Taliban gunmen are holed up in a building in Helmand province January 29, 2010. In the country's south, suicide attackers launched an assault in the capital of Helmand, Afghanistan's most violent province, and gunmen were holed up in a building battling government and NATO troops who returned fire with helicopter strikes. REUTERS/Abdul Malik Watanyar

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Four gunmen wearing suicide vests were locked in a gunbattle with Afghan security forces inside a building in southern Afghanistan on Friday, a police official said.

Abdul Qayum, a senior police official at the scene, told Reuters he could hear the sound of rocket-propelled grenades and heavy gunfire. He did not have any more details.

There are more than 110,000 international troops in Afghanistan, including some 70,000 Americans, fighting a resurgent Taliban that have spread their attacks out of traditional strongholds into other previously peaceful areas.

To try and turn the tide, Washington is sending 30,000 more troops this year and other nations are sending some 7,000 more.

Earlier this month, Taliban gunmen launched a brazen assault inside the center of the capital Kabul, with suicide bombers blowing themselves up at several locations and militants battling security forces from inside a shopping center. (Reporting by Abdul Malek and Ismail Sameem in KANDAHAR; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by David Fox)

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