Suicide bomber kills four in Afghanistan

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The Independent Online

A suicide bomber blew himself up today outside of a police station in eastern Afghanistan, killing three policemen and a civilian, officials said.

Provincial police chief Sadar Mohammad Zazai said the bomber approached the local police headquarters in the Shai Kali area of restive Khost province on foot today and detonated his explosives-laden vest.

Among the four people killed in the blast was a local police chief, Mohammad Zahir Khan, Zazai said. It was not immediately clear whether Khan was specifically targeted.

Provincial health director Hedayatullah Hamidi said three people were killed and 25 wounded in the bombing. Differing death tolls from officials are common immediately following a bombing in Afghanistan.

In the eastern province of Laghman, police investigating an explosion last night at a satellite television network office in Mehterlam city were hit by a second bomb which killed two policemen and wounded nine others, said Faizelullah Patan, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The Taliban announced its spring offensive several weeks ago and has been stepping up its attacks around the country. The insurgency has focused on Afghan security forces in a bid to undermine training and recruitment efforts of the international coalition, which hopes to transition security to the nascent Afghan force in targeted areas.

Security along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan has been fraught, however, with Taliban fighters filtering in from Pakistan to stage spectacular attacks in the eastern part of the country.

A NATO service member died as a result of a noncombat related injury yesterday in eastern Afghanistan, according to the international alliance. NATO did not release any other details about the death.