Suicide bomber kills five Afghan police and one civilian

A suicide bomber perched on the back of a motorcycle killed five Afghan policemen and one civilian in the increasingly violent northern province of Kunduz today.

Five other people were injured in the midday attack in the provincial capital, also called Kunduz, provincial police chief Abdul-Razaq Yaqoubi said.



The city is a major transportation hub and lies along a crucial supply line for coalition forces fighting the Taliban insurgency.



Rebels have repeatedly targeted that route and stepped up attacks on police and civilians in Kunduz in an apparent attempt to destabilize local authorities and spread their insurgency beyond its strongholds in the country's south.



The bombing came on the first anniversary of a NATO warplane attack on two fuel trucks just outside Kunduz city that killed as many as 142 people, the single largest loss of civilian lives since the 2001 US invasion of the country. Afghan officials repeatedly warn that such incidents undermine the central government in Kabul and fuel support for its Taliban opponents.



Also today, NATO announced the capture of a Taliban commander and the killing of six insurgents in a raid on a rebel hide-out in the northern province of Takhar.



The attack followed a string of recent raids on militant leaders that aim to demoralize the insurgency and sever contacts between rebel groups.



NATO said a joint Afghan-NATO force was fired on as it approached a compound yesterday where the Taliban commander was hiding. The force returned fire with the backing of coalition aircraft, then evacuated the compound and detained the commander and one of his assistants, it said.



Takhar, which neighbors Kunduz to the east, had been relatively quiet amid rising violence across Afghanistan, but recent incidents point to growing insurgent activity in the province, about 150 miles north of Kabul along the border with Tajikistan.



NATO says an airstrike in the province on Thursday killed about a dozen insurgents, but President Hamid Karzai and other Afghans said the victims were campaign workers seeking votes ahead of this month's parliamentary elections.



Farther south in Kandahar province, where much of the current fighting is focused, a Taliban commander in the provincial capital and six associates were detained in a raid on Thursday, NATO said. Other Taliban leaders in rural Kandahar and the southern provinces of Paktiya and Helmand were also captured, it said.



Separately, Helmand's provincial government reported at least 12 insurgents were killed in fighting and air raids in the province on Thursday.



NATO has been intensifying its efforts with the addition of 30,000 more US troops along with additional special forces soldiers who conduct most of the targeted raids alongside the Afghan army and police.



Some 140,000 foreign troops are now in the country, tasked both with driving the Taliban from areas it has held sway in for years, and ensuring security for the September 18 elections that many hope will help set Afghanistan on a path to greater political stability.



So far, the election campaign has been disrupted by periodic but not paralyzing violence, with at least three candidates and five campaign workers killed in attacks. Along with the Taliban, rival candidates are also believed to be involved in some of the violence and intimidation.



Yesterday, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates toured US bases and met with troops in Kandahar, saying he saw and heard evidence that the counterinsurgency strategy is taking hold in the Taliban's spiritual heartland.



Such progress is crucial ahead of a US assessment of Afghanistan strategy in December that could determine the direction of future efforts. President Barack Obama has pledged to begin pulling out at least some troops starting next July.



Meanwhile, nervous Afghans continued pulling funds out of the nation's largest bank despite assurances from government leaders that their money was safe.



Crowds gathered at Kabul Bank branches around the capital to withdraw dollar and Afghan currency savings, with customers saying they had lost faith in the bank's solvency following a change in leadership and reports that tens of millions of dollars had been lent to political elites for risky real estate investments.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map