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Suicide bomber kills two police officials at Afghan governor's compound

The bomber attacks the heavily guarded compound in the northern province of Takhar during an official gathering. In the south, two NATO service members are reported killed.

May 28, 2011|By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
  • Afghan policemen stand at the site of the suicide bombing in Takhar province, the latest in a series of insurgent strikes aimed at Afghan government installations.
Afghan policemen stand at the site of the suicide bombing in Takhar province,… (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck the heavily guarded governor's compound in a northern province during an official gathering on Saturday, killing at least two senior police commanders and injuring a number of other people, provincial officials said.

Also Saturday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force reported the deaths of two service members in the south of Afghanistan, although the force did not disclose their nationalities. On Thursday, eight Americans on foot patrol in Kandahar province were killed by a pair of powerful homemade bombs, the most lethal single incident this year involving IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

The bombing in Takhar province marked the latest in a series of insurgent strikes aimed at Afghan government installations. The Taliban movement declared the start of its spring offensive on May 1, and such attacks have intensified since then.

Takhar was once a relatively peaceful part of the country. But several insurgent groups are now entrenched across much of the north.

Takhar's capital, Taloqan, was the scene of a deadly clash earlier this month between demonstrators and Afghan police backed by NATO troops. At least 11 protesters were killed during rioting that broke out hours after a U.S.-led night raid on a residential compound left four people dead, including two women. The Western military described the four as armed insurgents; local officials said they were civilians.

The two police officials killed in Saturday's bombing were identified as the northern regional police commander, Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, and the provincial police chief, Gen. Shah Jahan Noori. Takhar's security chief, Abdul Salaam, also said there were an undetermined number of injuries.

A source in Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the provincial governor was injured in the bombing but survived.

Senior police and security officials are a prime target for the Taliban and other insurgent groups. The provincial police chief in Kandahar was killed last month by a suicide bomber, and the deputy chief of Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security, escaped an assassination bid last week.

laura.king@latimes.com

Special correspondent Hashmat Baktash contributed to this report.

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