Two Afghan police die, NATO chopper crashes in east

Kabul: Two people were killed when militants ambushed an Afghan police vehicle on Saturday and a coalition helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan with no fatalities, NATO and Afghan officials said.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior said insurgents attacked the policemen in Dara Nur district in the northern tip of Nangarhar province. Two others were wounded in the attack, the ministry said.

Fighting has escalated in eastern Afghanistan as Afghan and coalition forces step up their attacks on insurgents along the Pakistan border and militants retaliate with attacks on pro-government forces and Afghan officials.

A suicide attacker on foot detonated his vest packed with explosives yesterday afternoon at the entrance to a building used by education officials in Jayi Maydan district of Khost province, said Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, police chief in the eastern province.

The bomber died in the attack and four people were wounded, including the district education director and a local principal, he said.

The coalition helicopter crashed this morning in Alasay district of Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul.

No further details have been disclosed about the crash, which is under investigation.

Aziz Rahman Tawab, acting provincial governor in Kapisa province, said the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain.

In September 2010, nine American troops were killed in a helicopter crash in a rugged area of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.

Also in the east, the Afghan Defense Ministry said today that eight insurgents were killed and eight others were wounded in a gunbattle with Afghan forces yesterday in the Pech Valley area of eastern Kunar province, which borders Pakistan.

In the south, the Afghan National Police yesterday arrested six armed insurgents driving a police military vehicle in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand province, the governor's office said.

Three of the insurgents were wearing police uniforms, a statement from the governor's office today said.

Since March 2009, the coalition has recorded 20 incidents where a member of the Afghan security forces or someone wearing one of their uniforms killed coalition forces.

The coalition says 10 of the 20 incidents involved the impersonation of an Afghan policeman or soldier; the cause of the other 10 incidents were attributed to combat stress or unknown reasons.