Suicide attacks target Afghan police, killing 3

McClatchy NewspapersApril 14, 2011 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Another suspected Taliban suicide attacker struck in Afghanistan's eastern provinces Thursday, this time claiming the lives of three police officers at a training center that U.S. and Afghan officials set up in hopes of providing police support to isolated villages.

The attack in Paktia province follows by one day a suicide attack in Kunar province that killed 10 government-allied tribal leaders and by one week an assault in Nangarhar province on an airport base for U.S. troops. All three provinces border the tribal region of Pakistan, which U.S. and Afghan officials say has failed to control Islamist militants.

There was no official claim of responsibility for the attack, but the bombing was similar to other Taliban assaults.

Rohullah Samoon, the spokesman for the Paktia governor, said the Taliban strike force that hit the training center in the Aryub Zazai district comprised three would-be bombers but that only one succeeded in detonating his explosives. Police shot the second, and the third one ran away. "The search is going on to find him," Samoon said.

Samoon said he didn't know how many officers were undergoing training at the center, which has been operating since earlier this year.

The U.S.-backed training program is intended to boost security in remote villages and enable local villages to defend themselves from Taliban incursions.

As winter gives way to spring, the pace of Taliban attacks, which were already at record levels, is expected to increase, a trend that was evident elsewhere in the country Thursday.

A police headquarters near the capital, Kabul, was the target of a truck bomb driven by suicide attackers, wounding three police officers and a civilian, the Interior Ministry reported, and a suicide attacker attempted to bomb a police station in southern Kandahar province but was killed by the police.

While no loss of life was reported from the attack on the police headquarters in the Musahey district south of Kabul, the building was devastated.

"The truck was apparently carrying wood, and the explosion was so powerful the district headquarter building has been severely damaged," said Hashmat Stanikzai, a Kabul police spokesman.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, reporting on their website that the truck carried a half-ton of explosives.

(Shukoor is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

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