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Two attackers armed with suicide vests and automatic weapons stormed the main police station in Qalat, capital of the southern province of Zabul, said Ghulam Jailani, the deputy provincial police chief.
One of the men was shot dead but the second fled, he said.
"The second bomber escaped after his friend was killed. He disappeared within the town and we're hunting for him right now," he said.
The interior ministry confirmed the incident, saying the attackers had tried to kill a senior police official.
"One of the bombers was killed in an exchange of fire with police. The second bomber managed to escape and the police are trying to capture him," the ministry said in a statement, adding that one police officer was wounded.
Insurgents carry out suicide bombings regularly in Afghanistan, where Taliban-linked militants increasingly orchestrate coordinated attacks wearing explosive-packed vests and armed with automatic weapons.
In one of the most dramatic strikes, seven gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked government and civilian buildings in central Kabul on January 18, triggering gun battles that lasted more than three hours.
Four insurgents were killed by Afghan security forces on Friday after they staged a similar attack in the southern province of Helmand, where the insurgency in concentrated.
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