11 Afghan Police, 4 Taliban Killed

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

KABUL, Afghanistan – Suspected Taliban militants ambushed a convoy of Afghan police officers driving through a dangerous section of the country’s major highway Wednesday, killing six, while suicide bombers in the east killed three other officers, officials said.

In other violence, militants fatally shot two police officers in the south, where four suspected Taliban were killed in a clash with NATO and Afghan forces.

The ambush came along the Kabul-Kandahar highway, a ribbon of road that connects Afghanistan’s two major cities. Long stretches of Highway 1 run through areas controlled by Taliban militants.

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Six police were killed and five wounded in the ambush in the southern Zabul province, said Gen. Yaqoob Khan, the provincial police chief. Two vehicles in the convoy were damaged, he said.

Police are frequent targets of militant attacks, in part because the force has less training and is not as well equipped as the Afghan army.

In the east, insurgents attempted a double suicide bombing at Khost’s provincial police station. One bomber blew himself up and killed at least three police. A second bomber who then ran into the police headquarters was shot and killed, said Mohammad Wali Shah, the provincial police chief.

In the southern Kandahar province, suspected Taliban militants ambushed two police officers riding a bicycle in Zhari district Tuesday, killing both, said Sayed Agha Saqib, the provincial police chief.

NATO-led and Afghan troops also clashed with Taliban in the same area, leaving four militants dead, Saqib said.

In Kabul, a suicide bomber on foot targeted a convoy of Turkish vehicles on the capital’s outskirts, injuring one Afghan civilian and a Turkish soldier, officials said. The explosion hit a vehicle with diplomatic license plates, but it wasn’t immediately known who was inside the car.

In Paktia province, an attack on a road construction crew left one person from the Philippines dead and three guards wounded, said Ghulam Dastager, the province’s deputy police chief.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan the last several weeks. More than 3,300 people have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an Associated Press count based on numbers from Afghan and Western officials.

NATO’s International Security Force said five advanced roadside bombs known as EFPs _ explosively formed penetrators _ have been found in Afghanistan this year. Two were found unexploded in Herat and two in Kabul. One detonated in the capital.

Col. Thomas Kelly, an ISAF official charged with countering improvised explosive devices, said the technology was likely brought in from outside the country.

Associated Press writer Noor Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)