The governor of Afghanistan's Uruzgan province narrowly escaped an insurgent attack Thursday, and NATO and Afghan security forces continue to sweep the area in an effort to root out militants who penetrated his compound, officials said.
Muhammad Omar Shirzad had been holed up inside the building as a gun battle raged in and around the compound, according to Abdul Rahman, the governor's spokesman.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard over the phone as Rahman spoke with CNN.
By late afternoon, Afghan and NATO forces managed to clear militants from the immediate vicinity of the governor's office, according to Siddiq Siddiqi, an Interior Ministry spokesman.
Rahman is currently being treated for injuries at a local hospital after a grenade exploded near him.
While sporadic gunfire continues near the compound, Rahman said, the governor was not harmed.
The attack occurred earlier Thursday when militants -- wielding guns and strapped with explosive devices -- stormed the compound, a television-radio station and a police base in the provincial capital of Tarin Kowt, officials said.
A least 19 people were killed and 37 wounded,including three police officers, said Khan Aga Miakhail, head of Uruzgan's regional department of health.
Ten children were among the dead, he added.
Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, a freelance journalist working for an Afghan news agency and other international news organizations, was also killed during the battle, according to Pajhwok News Agency spokesman Danish Karookhail.
"Moments after the fighting began, Khpalwak sent his brother Javed a text-message, asking family members to pray for his safety. Soon afterwards, hospital authorities informed Javed of his brother's death," the agency reported.
The 25 year-old reporter, who also worked for BBC News, was shot by unknown gunmen inside the district's local television station, it added.