Taliban claim Afghan blast that killed 6 US troops

Last Updated: Monday, July 9, 2012 - 22:40

Kabul: The Taliban took responsibility on Monday for a bomb blast in Afghanistan that killed six American troops, while other militants launched suicide attacks on two police headquarters that left 20 people dead, according to officials.

German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said the six Americans were killed yesterday when their armored vehicle struck a bomb planted in eastern Afghanistan. He said a seventh American soldier was killed in a separate insurgent attack in the south.

The deadly attacks on a particularly violent day showed the militants` resilience, though the target date of NATO`s handover of security responsibility to local forces is less than 18 months away.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province, just south of Kabul, in a statement. They were the latest American casualties caused by bombs planted by insurgents along roads, paths or mountain tracks.

Coalition and Afghan forces are trying to secure areas of Wardak that insurgents use as gateway into the Afghan capital where they stage high-profile attacks on Afghan government and NATO targets.

Wardak provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoi said that after the explosion in Jalrez district, a coalition airstrike killed a local Taliban commander and wounded three insurgents.

In the south, three suicide bombers riding in a three-wheeled vehicle blew themselves up today afternoon in Kandahar city, said Kandahar provincial spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal.

A short time later, more suicide bombers tried to attack the police headquarters in Kandahar, but they were gunned down by police before they could get into the compound, Faisal said.

The incident was still being investigated, but Faisal said authorities suspect that the three attackers in the vehicle, a form of miniature pickup known as a Zaranj, were headed toward police headquarters when their explosives detonated prematurely.

Three policemen and two children were killed in the attack. Another 18 police and 12 civilians were wounded.

A total of 14 suicide attackers, who fired at police for about two hours, blew themselves up or were shot and killed by police, Kandahar officials said.

A surge in Afghan and coalition forces during the past two years has routed Taliban fighters from many of their strongholds in the south, but the insurgents have stepped up their attacks this summer to take back key areas.

PTI



First Published: Monday, July 9, 2012 - 22:40

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