KANDAHAR: A suicide bomber struck Sunday at the gate of the police headquarters in Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 11 people in a city where Afghans have recently taken control of security.
The blast, which ripped a gaping hole in the station compound’s wall, also wounded as least 12 people, said Helmand provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi. He said the dead included 10 police officers and one child.
People at the site said they saw a police vehicle on fire at the gate. Ahmadi said a suicide bomber apparently drove a car between two police vehicles at the entrance and then set detonated the explosives.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.
It has been less than two weeks since Lashkar Gah was formally handed over to Afghan control in the first stage of a plan to have all of Afghanistan under the oversight of Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. It is the capital city of a province that has been a stronghold for the insurgency and where US Marines have surged in over the past year to try to turn back the Taliban.
The attack comes as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tours Afghanistan for a second day. He has been meeting with military commanders and troops in the south, a region that has been rocked by violence and suicide attacks in recent weeks. Mullen visited a base outside the southern city of Kandahar on Sunday morning.
In the east, meanwhile, an international service member was killed in a pre-dawn bomb attack, according to a Nato forces statement.
The statement did not provide further details on Sunday’s attack, nor the nationality of the dead.
At least 48 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan in July, including the latest death.