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Officials: Bomb blast kills 5 in southern Afghanistan, insurgents battle police in north

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say five civilians were killed when a bomb detonated inside a house in the southern Zabul province, while in the north Taliban insurgents are clashing with police.

Atta Jan, head of the Zabul provincial council, said Monday that two children and a woman were among those killed in the explosion the night before in the Shinkay district.

In the northern Kunduz province, meanwhile, the Taliban battled police three days after declaring the start of their annual springtime offensive.

Provincial Gov. Omer Safi says reinforcements have been sent in. He says there have been casualties on both sides, but was unable to provide precise figures.

The Taliban escalate their attacks every year when the warm weather allows them to more easily traverse the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

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