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Last Updated: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 12:16

Kandahar: A suicide bomber rammed an
explosives-laden vehicle into a checkpoint in a neighborhood
housing United Nations and international aid groups` offices
and guest houses in the southern city of Kandahar early on Monday,
killing four people including an Afghan policeman, Afghan
officials said.

Security forces were exchanging fire with armed insurgents
who rushed into the area and seized control of a building,
Kandahar police chief Gen Abdul Razzaq said.

NATO said that Afghan security forces were "leading the
efforts against the attackers."

Immediately after the 6:15 am bomb attack, several
insurgents rushed into the area and seized control of an
animal clinic near the office of the International Relief and
Development organization, said Faisal Khan, head of the
Kandahar local government media office.

The clinic and IRD offices are near guest houses
affiliated with both the IRD and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR,
he said.

The area is also home to several other international NGO
offices and guest houses.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with
spokesman Qari Youssef saying the insurgents were targeting
what he claimed was a guest house affiliated with the United
Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. But UNAMA does not
operate a guest house in the area.

Earlier reports said three security guards in the area
were killed, but Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for the Kandahar
governor`s office, said three civilians and one policeman were
killed. Three civilians and a Nepalese guard were wounded,
said Faisal.

UNAMA said it was aware of the situation, but that "all
our staff, both Afghan and non-Afghan ... have been accounted
for," said agency spokesman Dan McNorton.

The attack comes two days after the Taliban launched a
brazen midday suicide bombing in Kabul, striking a NATO convoy
on Saturday and killing 17 people, including five NATO service
members, eight civilian contractors and four Afghans.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 12:16

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