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More than 50 senior Taliban commanders were killed in an artillery strike on a meeting in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, a US military spokesman said on Wednesday, as fighting continued across the country.

Details of last week’s operation emerged as fighting continued in other parts of Afghanistan, where the Taliban, aiming to restore their version of hardline Islamic law, launched their annual spring offensive last month.

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Gunmen in Kabul, the capital, attacked the heavily fortified interior ministry, battling security forces for more than two hours before the assault was suppressed.

There were also serious incidents in Takhar province in the north, in Loghar, east of the capital, and Kandahar in the south, keeping up a pattern of attacks across the country.

The U.S. military said the May 24 meeting in Helmand’s district of Musa Qala involved commanders from a number of Afghan provinces, including neighbouring Farah, where Taliban fighters this month briefly threatened to overrun the provincial capital.

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