10 killed in Afghan Taliban attacks

Kabul, April 23:

Two suicide blasts struck southern Afghanistan today, killing five people, while an overnight Taliban attack on a police checkpost left five policemen and several rebels dead, officials said.

The suicide attacks were both claimed by the hardline Taliban movement, which has this month stepped up such bombings as part of an insurgency that has steadily gained pace since the group was forced from government in late 2001.

The first attack targeted a district police chief in the southern province of Helmand, a hotbed of Taliban activity, with the attacker blowing himself up as the officer stepped out of his compound.

Immediately afterwards, Gereshk district police chief Khair Mohammad Shouja said two of his policemen were killed and three seriously wounded.

The national interior ministry said later the dead were a policeman and a civilian. Five people were wounded, including three policemen, it said in a statement.

Gereshk is a volatile area, lying on the main road that cuts across southern Afghanistan.

It is a key centre in Helmand, the heart of Afghanistan’s illegal drugs production and where the Taliban hold several districts.

Another suicide bomber blew himself up in a bazaar in the town of Spin Boldak,

in the adjoining province of Kandahar, killing three civilians and wounding 14 people, the provincial governor said.

The attacker detonated his explosives when he realised he was being followed by intelligence agents and police, governor Assadullah Khalid said.

“Including three intelligence workers, 14 people were wounded, and three civilians were killed,” he said in a statement.

In another incident reported Wednesday, Taliban rebels stormed a police post in the eastern

province of Kunar overnight and killed five policemen, said a border unit commander, Esmatullah Safi.