Suicide Bomber Kills 1 in Afghanistan

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police station in northern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing one civilian and wounding 25 other people, officials said.

Meanwhile, armed men kidnapped two Germans and two Afghans working on a dam project in central Afghanistan, police said.

The bomber attacked the police station in Fayzabad, the capital of Badakshan province, said Abdul Moman Jalali, the head of the provincial health department. Among those wounded were three women and three children, Jalali said.

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The attack occurred a day after suspected Taliban militants ambushed two separate convoys of Afghan police officers driving through dangerous sections of countryside, killing six in each attack, while suicide bombers in the east killed three other officers, officials said.

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

Afghan 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.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan in 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.

The Germans and their Afghan driver and translator were seized in Wardak province’s Jaghatu district on Wednesday, said Mahbobullah Amiri, the provincial police chief.

Police were searching the area, but had yet to establish contact with the kidnappers, he said.

Amiri referred to the kidnappers as “thieves,” but could not provide further details about the abduction or those behind it.

Another German man was kidnapped in western Afghanistan on June 28, but was released after a week. The kidnappers, using tribal elders as intermediaries, demanded $40,000 for freeing them. It was not clear whether money changed hands.

Wednesday’s first ambush on the police force occurred 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.

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

Taliban fighters also ambushed police in Logar province, killing six of the officers, said Gen. Mustafa Khan, the provincial police chief.

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 police chief of Khost province.

In the southern Kandahar province, suspected Taliban militants ambushed two police officers riding a bike 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.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)