Lashkar Gah: Taliban militants detonated a suicide bomb and stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing five police and five civilians as the country endures a rise in violence as US-led NATO troops pull out.
The attackers forced their way inside after a bomb exploded at the entrance of the Kabul Bank branch in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the insurgency-racked province of Helmand.
"The blast at the gate was a suicide attacker blowing himself up to open the way for others to enter the building," Omar Zhwak, provincial spokesman for Helmand, told AFP.
"Ten people including five security forces were killed, and 14 people were wounded. There were three attackers inside the building and all were killed.
"It was the government employees` payday and they had all come to get their salaries."
A second remote-controlled bomb was triggered as ambulances arrived to take victims to hospital and wounded a further two civilians, Zhwak said.
Farid Ahmad Obaidi, Helmand`s police spokesman, confirmed the incident, which comes as Afghanistan police and army take over security duties nationwide as US-led NATO forces pull out.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kabul Bank branch, an institution that nearly collapsed in 2010 in a $900 million fraud case that underlined the endemic corruption in the country.
On December 31, the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan will end after 13 years of fighting the Taliban.
It will be replaced by a 12,500-strong support mission to advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
The recent spate of deadly attacks have targeted army buses, mine clearance teams and foreign compounds in Kabul.