KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Triple suicide blasts and shootings killed 19 people including a local BBC reporter in an ongoing attack on Uruzgan province Thursday that was the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in more than a month.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the coordinated assault that began with suicide bombings on official buildings in the local capital Trinkot and the base of a militia commander who provides security to NATO convoys heading towards the country's besieged south.
The latest unrest comes at a critical juncture in the nearly 10-year war on Taliban-led insurgents, as thousands of US surge troops prepare to go home and other Western nations announce limited withdrawals of soldiers.
All foreign combat forces are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and last week a first tranche of handovers from NATO to Afghan forces took place in seven parts of the country.
The BBC said that one of its Afghan reporters, Omid Khpalwak, was among those killed, apparently while he was inside radio and television offices next to the militia commander's compound.
Khpalwak also worked for Afghan news agency Pajhwok and its regional editor Javid Hamim Kakar confirmed his death.
"His brother confirmed that he died and his body is in the Uruzgan central hospital," Kakar told AFP.