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Members of the German army in Afghanistan in 2008 (File photo)
Members of the German army in Afghanistan in 2008 (File photo)
Image: Anja Niedringhaus/AP/Press Association Images

Two NATO troops and four Afghans killed by suicide bombing in northern Afghanistan

High-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition force when a suicide bomber, dressed as a policeman blew himself up killing German NATO troops and an Afghan police commander.
May 28th 2011, 5:33 PM 208 0

TWO GERMAN SOLDIERS were killed and four other Afghans also died after a suicide bomber, wearing a police uniform, blew himself up during a meeting at a provincial governor’s compound on Saturday in northern Afghanistan.

The German military told Der Spiegel (German) that two German troops were killed and that General Markus Kneip, the NATO force’s commander for northern Afghanistan, was wounded along with three of his soldiers.

The bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a room in the governor’s office complex in Takhar province where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition, said Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, a spokesman for the governor.

The governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, suffered burns to his head, hands and back.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the late afternoon attack — the latest in an uptick of violence as the Islamic extremist movement has launched its spring offensive.

The effectiveness of the Taliban’s campaign could affect the size of President Barack Obama’s planned drawdown of US troops in July.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it was part of the insurgency’s assassination campaign against high-ranking government officials.

The bombing also was meant to undercut a military offensive the Afghan National Army was planning to launch in the north, the Taliban spokesman said.

Among those killed was General Daood Daood, police commander in northern Afghanistan, said Dr. Hassain Basech, health director of the province.

Daood was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an Al Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the 9/11 attacks that provoked the US invasion.

Also killed were provincial police chief General Shah Jahan Noori, a secretary to the governor, and one of Daood’s bodyguards, the health director said.

In addition to the governor, nine other Afghans were wounded — a cameraman working in the governor’s office and eight Afghan troops.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, calling it a “barbaric act of terror.”

Violence has been on the rise in the north, where the Taliban, al-Qaida and fighters from other militant factions are known to be hiding, including the Haqqani network, Hezb-i-Islami and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

NATO has sent more troops to the north and has been pushing harder into militant-held areas.

In October 2010, a bomb killed Kunduz Gov. Mohammad Omar and 19 others in a crowded mosque in Takhar province.

Omar was killed just days after he warned of escalating threats from Taliban and foreign fighters in the north.

In February, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to an Afghan government office in neighboring Kunduz province, killing at least 30 people, including many who were waiting in line to obtain government identification cards. At least 40 others were wounded in the blast.

- AP

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