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Police officers killed as suicide bombers strike in Afghan capital

The Taliban and a local Islamic State affiliate often target Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and security forces.

Afghan security personnel inspect the area of a suicide attack (AP)
Afghan security personnel inspect the area of a suicide attack (AP)

Suicide bombers have struck two police stations in Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least two officers and injuring several other people, officials said.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the first suicide bomber attacked a station in the western part of Kabul, killing at least two police officers.

He said there was sporadic gunfire after the blast as a “clean-up operation” was carried out. Kabul police chief General Daud Amin said another two policemen were wounded in the attack.

Gen Amin said a separate attack in central Kabul, in which a suicide bomber struck at the entrance to a police station, triggered fighting that was still under way. He said gunmen occupied a nearby building, from which they were firing at security forces.

Afghans run from the site of a suicide attack (AP)

Six people have been transferred to hospitals, though the toll is expected to rise.

No-one immediately claimed the attack, but the Taliban and a local Islamic State (IS) affiliate frequently target Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and security forces.

Twin suicide bombings claimed by IS last week killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack. It was the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced on a district compound, with one reporting the capture of the northern district by the insurgents and another saying heavy fighting was still under way.

The battle for the compound in the Bilchirgh district, in the northern Faryab province, came a day after the insurgents captured the district compound in the remote Tala wa Barfak district, in the northern Baghlan province.

Two police officers were killed in the first attack (AP)

The Taliban have captured several districts in different parts of the country from Afghan security forces since 2014, when the US and Nato formally concluded their combat mission and shifted to a supporting role.

Mohammad Hashim, a member of parliament from Faryab province, said the Taliban captured the district headquarters in Bilchirgh early Wednesday after more than 40 security forces retreated under heavy fire. He said the Taliban also captured several villages nearby. Provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yuresh said the fighting is still under way and that government forces still hold the compound.

The Taliban issued a statement saying they control the district and claiming to have killed 10 security forces personnel.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a school being used as a voter registration centre, killing eight soldiers in the latest in a series of attacks targeting preparations for elections later this year.

Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the governing council in the western Badghis province, said two other soldiers were wounded and one is missing.

In the eastern Nangarhar province, a rocket fired by insurgents struck a market, killing two people and wounding 19, according to Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

He said another four civilians were killed and 15 wounded in a gun battle in the same district, in which two insurgents were killed and seven wounded. It was unclear who was behind the attacks, but the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate are both active in the province.



From Belfast Telegraph