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Suicide attack targets Afghan intel commander

18 october 2011, 12:04
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Afghan policemen inspect at the site of a suicide bomber in Maymanah in Faryab province on October 17, 2011. ©AFP
Afghan policemen inspect at the site of a suicide bomber in Maymanah in Faryab province on October 17, 2011. ©AFP
A suicide bomber targeted a provincial head of Afghanistan's intelligence agency on Monday, wounding the spy and killing a child in the increasingly volatile north of the country, AFP reports.

The bomber detonated next to a car carrying the National Directorate of Security (NDS) official at 8:20am (3:50 GMT) in Maymanah in Faryab province, Lal Mohammad, police spokesman for the northern region, told AFP.

"The chief of NDS was going to his office when the attacker, a person wearing a suicide vest, detonated near his car.

"One child is killed and six other people, including the provincial chief of NDS, are injured," said Mohammad.

Mohammad had said initially that a "number of civilians" were killed.

Faryab police chief Sayed Ahmad Sameh confirmed the NDS official was the target.

"A suicide bomber targeted the head of the NDS. He's injured with five other people. One civilian is killed," he said.

The Taliban could not be immediately reached for comment, but the militia, fighting a 10-year insurgency since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted it from power, has stepped up targeted assassinations in recent months.

International troops have started to withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of a 2014 deadline for all foreign combat soldiers to leave.

But there is concern about the ability of Afghan security forces to protect their country against the Taliban-led insurgency.

The north of Afghanistan, dominated by ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks, has traditionally been more secure than the south and east, but an increase in attacks has raised fears about stability.

On Saturday, two men were killed at a US-run development base in the first suicide attack since the 2001 US-led invasion in the northern and Tajik-dominated Panjshir province, which is bitterly opposed to the Taliban.

Some Tajiks have stepped up calls on the government to abandon peace efforts with the Pashtun-dominated Taliban after peace broker and one of their leaders, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated in Kabul on September 20.

Recent attacks in Kabul and high-profile political assassinations over the summer have fed perceptions that after 10 years of effort, the West is losing the war in Afghanistan.

But last week, an officer in the US-led NATO military said the number of Taliban attacks in the country had declined for the first time.

Overall insurgent attacks are down in the past two months compared to last year and the Taliban has failed to seize back territory lost in the south, said deputy chief of staff Major General Michael Krause.

Nevertheless, the United Nations says violence is up by nearly 40 percent with an average of 2,108 incidents a month in the first eight months of 2011.

A report to the UN Security Council showed that the number of civilians killed over the summer rose five percent compared to the same period in 2010.

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