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Taliban suicide bombers attack two Afghan cities

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At least 13 suspected Taliban militants and Afghan security forces were killed Tuesday in separate attacks in Gardez and Jalalabad, two eastern Afghan cities.

The attacks were launched on government buildings and came in th run-up to the presidential election in August. Violence has spiked in Afghanistan as the US has poured more troops into the country, launching a new offensive in the Taliban stronghold of southern Helmand Province as part of a new strategy to defeat the insurgency. (For a map of Afghanistan, click here.)

The attacks also come a day after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a temporary increase in the size of the Army to meet the demands of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Al Jazeera, suicide bombers, some wearing women’s burqas, attacked the governor’s house, police headquarters, and intelligence headquarters in Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia, on Tuesday. US and NATO forces were dispatched to quell gunbattles, Al Jazeera reported.

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