A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up inside a police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing nine people and wounding at least 24 others, officials said.
The bomber set off the explosives after slipping inside the main police building in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, while police were exercising yesterday, said Asadullah Sherzad, the provincial police chief.
Nine people were killed and 24 were wounded, said Ayatullah Ghafari, an official at Lashkar Gah hospital, where the dead and wounded were taken.
Police official Kamal Uddin said eight of those killed and 21 wounded were police officers. The rest were civilians.
Earlier, nine international soldiers and three Afghan civilians were killed in a bloody weekend of attacks linked to a Taliban-led insurgency, officials said.
The attacks came amid growing concern about extremist violence in the war-torn country and across the border in Pakistan, more than seven years after the Taliban were removed from government in a US-led invasion.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a blast that killed four International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troopers in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Sunday, on the border with Pakistan.
“It was an IED [improvised-explosive device]. Four soldiers were killed,” an ISAF spokesman at the force’s Kabul headquarters said.
A statement said that two were killed immediately and two died later from their wounds.
The US military said the four were from the US, which has about 38,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.
An Afghan media officer in the province said the bomb had been remotely detonated to hit a convoy in Bati Kot district.
“These dedicated professionals have risked their lives for a safe and stable Afghanistan,” ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Richard Blanchette said.
Two British soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers were killed in an explosion while on vehicle patrol on Sunday in the Garmsir district in southern Helmand Province, the Ministry of Defence in London said.
Three other ISAF soldiers died in Afghanistan on Saturday. One was French, another British and the nationality of the third has not been released.
With Sunday’s strikes, 63 international soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year, most of them in insurgent attacks, a toll by the icasualties.org Web site showed.
Also on Sunday, a suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden vehicle in the capital Kabul as a foreign military convoy passed, the interior ministry said.
The blast left two civilians dead and 14 wounded, although the foreign troops were unharmed, it said.
Earlier, a bomb exploded in the southern city of Kandahar as the mayor, Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, drove past, police said.
“One civilian was killed and six others were wounded, but there was no harm to the mayor except his vehicle was damaged a bit,” police said.
The US military said, meanwhile, that soldiers killed five militants in an operation early on Sunday about 60km west of Kandahar city.
Three others were detained, it said in a statement.
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