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Seven die in Afghan compound attack

Suicide bombers and gunmen have attacked a compound housing Nato contractors in Afghanistan.

The bombers blew up a car packed with explosives at the entrance to the compound, opening the way for three gunmen to rush in and hold employees hostage during an hours-long gunbattle, officials said.

Two private security guards working at the compound and all five attackers were killed during the assault at ES-KO, a contractor for Italian troops deployed in Herat province.

One Nato service member, an Afghan policeman and a private security guard were wounded.

Thirty-one people were safely evacuated from the site.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, in Guzara district, south of the provincial capital of Herat.

The coalition dispatched a quick-reaction force that included ground troops and aircraft to the scene, about a half mile from Camp Arena, headquarters for Nato's Regional Command West.

The assault came just days after the Taliban launched a brazen, two-pronged assault on a compound housing UN and international aid groups offices in southern Afghanistan. Five people were killed in that attack, including three working with the UN's refugee organisation.

The violence comes as the US-led coalition pushes to speed up the transition of security responsibilities to its Afghan counterparts before the end of 2014 when US and Nato forces are to end their combat mission and go home or move into training or support roles.

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