South Asia News
Multiple suicide bombers kill 10 in southern Afghanistan (2nd Lead)
Apr 1, 2009, 11:20 GMT
Kabul - Four militants outfitted with explosives and automatic rifles attacked a provincial council office in southern Afghanistan Wednesday, killing seven civilians and three police officers, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
One attacker detonated an explosives-laden vehicle in front of the office in Kandahar, the capital of Kandahar province, killing a police officer guarding the compound, ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.
The remaining three attackers, wearing explosives-filled suicide vests, entered the building and opened fire on civilians, killing seven people, he said, adding that police then arrived at the scene and engaged the attackers.
'Two of the bombers were shot dead by our police forces before they could detonate their explosives, but the third bomber detonated himself and the blast only killed the bomber,' Bashary said.
The Interior Ministry later said two more police officers were also killed but did not say whether they were shot by the militants or died in the explosions.
Sixteen other people, including police and civilians, were wounded, said Abdullah Fahim, a spokesman for the Afghan Public Health Ministry.
Members of the provincial council were holding a meeting with local elders when the attack took place, but Bashary said there were no casualties among the local lawmakers.
President Hamid Karzai's younger brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, is the head of the Kandahar provincial council, but officials could not confirm if he was inside the compound when the attack took place.
Meanwhile, Afghan forces backed by international troops killed 30 suspected Taliban militants, including a local commander, in neighbouring Helmand province, an Interior Ministry statement said.
Afghan police and NATO-led troops targeted the militants Tuesday in several villages of the Kajaki district, leaving 20 militants wounded, the statement said.
The operation happened the same day as 30 other militants were killed and 17 wounded in a separate operation in the neighbouring province of Uruzgan. Four Afghan police forces were also wounded in the operation.
Southern Afghanistan is the main hub for the Taliban-led insurgency.
On Monday, a suicide bombing in Kandahar's Dand district killed nine, including five policemen, when the bomber detonated his explosives inside the district headquarters.
Taliban militants are most active in Kandahar, which once was the birthplace of the Taliban movement and the main headquarters for the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.