Suicide Attacks and Gunfight in Afghanistan Kill 10 Police Officers

New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 5 — A wave of suicide attacks in four provinces of Afghanistan on Saturday killed two police officers and wounded a NATO soldier and two other Afghan policemen, and eight other Afghan police officers were killed in a gun battle with the Taliban, officials said.

A suicide bomber struck on Saturday morning in Nad Ali District in Helmand Province in the south, killing two policemen, an Interior Ministry statement said. The policemen were guarding a checkpoint, local television reported.

Half an hour later, the police became suspicious of a man in Samkani District of Paktia Province in the southeast and shot him. The man then blew himself up; he was killed and two policemen were wounded.

“Another man who accompanied him escaped, and the police are still looking for him,” said the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman Sarjang.

The eight policemen were killed in a gunfight that lasted for hours and broke out after dozens of Taliban fighters opened fire on an Afghan police convoy in the western province of Farah, according to Reuters.

Also on Saturday morning, a suicide bomber attacked while a NATO convoy was passing in Urgun District in the border province of Paktika, killing himself and wounding a soldier. American forces are operating in Paktika Province.

“We can confirm the attack and what we know is one ISAF soldier was injured,” said a NATO spokesman, Maj. John Thomas, referring to the NATO force, the International Security Assistance Force.

In the western province of Farah, Afghan police officers followed a man driving a car that they suspected was rigged with explosives. The police fired on the car as the driver tried to escape and the car exploded, killing the driver, a statement from the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

Taliban insurgents meanwhile announced they were extending the ultimatum for a French hostage and his three Afghan colleagues until after the French presidential elections.

The United States military in a statement from Bagram Air Base said coalition forces killed 10 Taliban commanders during fighting in the Shindand District of Herat on April 27 and 29.

Afghan officials have said at least 42 civilians were killed in the battles.

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