Bombing targeting Afghan local police kills 7

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber targeting a village police commander blew himself up in a bazaar in a lawless part of eastern Afghanistan, killing seven people, an official said Saturday.

Clashes and bombings around Afghanistan in the past two days have claimed the lives of 15 people, including 11 Afghan policemen and four civilians.

Afghan forces have been in the lead for security around the country since mid-June, when foreign forces handed over control.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks since then and also are seeking to take advantage of the withdrawal of foreign troops that will see all international combat forces leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Insurgents increasingly have been targeting Afghan security forces and government officials.

In one such case, a suicide bomber targeted a village police commander late Friday in Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, said Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the province’s deputy provincial governor. Almadi said the bomber on a motorcycle loaded with explosives killed Local Police commander Dawlat Khan, three of his men, and three civilians in a bazaar.

The Afghan Local Police are a village-level force designed to be a first line of defense against the Taliban. They are often targeted by insurgents who see them as a direct threat to their ability to operate.

It is estimated that 50 to 70 Afghan policemen die every week.

In Helmand province, a roadside bomb in the province’s Gerashk district on Saturday killed a family of four, including two children, police chief Hikmatullah Akmal said. A bomb also killed a police officer in a separate incident, an announcement said.

On Saturday, insurgents tried to kill the governor of northern Samangan province, Khirullah Anosh, with a remotely detonated roadside bomb as the official drove to work. His spokesman, Sediq Azizi, said the governor and three other people were slightly wounded.

In neighboring Baghlan province, a police officer was killed when insurgents on Saturday tried to kill the provincial police chief with a remotely detonated bomb that exploded next to his convoy, his spokesman said. Jawed Basharat said his chief, Gen. Asadullah Sherzad, was not hurt in the attack.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Samangan and Baghlan attacks.

Another bomb killed two police officers and wounded four in central Ghor province, spokesman Abdul Hai Khateby said.

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Associated Press writers Patrick Quinn in Kabul and Mirwais Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.

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