Twelve people have been killed and more than 80 wounded after Taliban fighters detonated two car bombs at a gate outside police headquarters in the Afghan city of Kandahar.
Militant gunman opened fire from nearby positions after the blasts and members of the security forces were battling them, Kandahar's chief of police Tadeen Khan said.
The attackers targeted the police force's counter-narcotics wing.
Eyewitnesses said that after the first explosion on Thursday, three back-to-back explosions were heard and the gunfight was still going on.
Police cordoned off the area as people fled.
Bahir Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said those killed were both policemen and civilians.
A doctor on duty in Kandahar provincial hospital said 83 wounded people had been taken to the hospital, most of them civilians.
The Taliban said in a statement their fighters had detonated car bombs, and clashes were continuing as some fighters had entered the police offices.
Kandahar was the former seat of the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until they were ousted by a US-led coalition in 2001.
The militants have fought on and while US officials and Taliban militants have been discussing a peace deal since late last year to end the war, the violence has not abated.
At least 20 Afghan forces members were killed in a Taliban ambush in Abkamari district in western Badghis province on Wednesday.
The Taliban also killed an Afghan commander on Wednesday in central Afghanistan.
Australian Associated Press