Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Seven killed in mosque bombing

An Afghan police officer who was wounded in a suicide bombing lies in a hospital bed in Baghlan, Afghanistan (AP)

Seven people, including two police commanders, have died after two suicide bombers targeted worshippers on a key Muslim festival in northern Afghanistan.

The bombers struck as Muslims were leaving a mosque on the outskirts of Old Baghlan City after prayers at the start of the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice.

At least 18 other people were taken to hospitals with injuries sustained in the attack in Hassin Tal, about six miles east of the city.

One bomber blew himself up, while the second was captured before he could set off his explosives, a police spokesman said.

The bombings raise questions about Afghan forces' ability to tackle the insurgency head-on without their Nato partners.

Nato is working to handing over full security responsibilities to Afghan forces before the end of 2014, when the coalition plans to withdraw its combat troops.

Nato officials say attacks such as Sunday's bombing do little more than grab headlines and have little impact on the balance of strength between the government and the insurgents.

Kamen Khan, the police chief in Old Baghlan City, said one of the two dead local police commanders was a well-known local leader named Abdul who, like many Afghans, goes only by one name.

Separately, Nato said that one of its service members was killed in an insurgent attack in the south on Saturday. The death raises to 494 the number of coalition troops killed in the country so far this year. Nato provided no other details.

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