Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Motorbike suicide bomber strikes in Afghanistan

Afghanistan-suicide-attac-008 A suicide bomber on a motorcycle has killed at least 10 people and wounded 26 in a northern Afghan province, officials and police say.

Lal Muhammad Ahmad Zai, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, said the bomber had blown himself up in Maimanah, the capital of Faryab province. It was unclear what the target was.

Of the 10 people killed, four were police officers and the rest were civilians, including two women and two children, Zia said.

Earlier, Nato said two of its service members had been killed in a bomb explosion in northern Afghanistan. It provided no other details about the attack or the nationalities of the pair. It was unclear whether the two incidents were related.

So far this year, 96 Nato service members have been killed in Afghanistan.

The director of Maimanah hospital, Abdul Ali Aleen, said six of the dead and the 26 wounded in the suicide bombing had been brought to his hospital.

Abdul Satar Barez, deputy governor of Faryab, said the attack took place in the late morning near a park in downtown Maimanah.

Militants have stepped up their attacks in recent days, killing nine Afghan policemen and abducting 11 in the past three days.

The surge appears to be part of the militants' drive to assert their power as Nato forces, led by the US, try to build up the Afghan military and leave combat responsibility to local forces by the end of 2014.

Attacks and casualties are also expected to rise around the country as the spring fighting season gets under way. Fighting in Afghanistan usually wanes during the winter months as Taliban fighters take a break because of bad weather. Heavy snow also covers many of the mountain passes used by the Taliban and other insurgent fighters to cross mainly into eastern Afghanistan from safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan.

Attacks against Nato and Afghan security forces have increased in the past two weeks, mostly in eastern Afghanistan.

The Guardian

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