KANDAHAR: Two bodyguards and two suicide attackers were killed in a firefight inside the governor's compound in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province Saturday, an official said.

“Two suicide attackers and two bodyguards of the governor have been killed in the attack,” Kandahar government spokesman Zalmay Ayobi told AFP.

The insurgents, who somehow made it through the tight security at the compound, exchanged fire with Afghan security forces while a NATO helicopter hovered overhead, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

“We are inside the compound and we are all fine,” provincial governor Toryalai Weesa told AFP as the fighting raged.

“Two to three hooligans have entered the compound -- the security forces have surrounded them, they will soon be killed or captured,” he said.

Kandahar province is the heartland of hardline Taliban insurgents and has been one of the hardest hit in 10 years of war in which NATO troops are supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until they were toppled in a 2001 US-led invasion for refusing to hand-over Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Since then, remnants of the regime have orchestrated an increasingly deadly insurgency focused on suicide attacks and roadside bombings that frequently miss their military targets and cause civilian casualties.

On April 15, squads of suicide attackers took up positions in the nation's capital Kabul, firing on embassies, government buildings and foreign military bases for 18 hours before they were all killed.

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