Suicide bomber strikes outside police office in Afghan capital
KABUL - Reuters
REUTERS photoA suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Feb. 1, killing 10 people and wounding 20 after joining a queue to enter an office of the civil order police, a senior official said.
Kabul was hit last month by a series of suicide attacks as the Taliban have stepped up their campaign against the Western-backed government.
The attacks coincided with renewed efforts to revive a peace process with the Islamist insurgent movement that stalled last year.
Deputy Interior Minister Ayub Salangi announced Feb. 1's casualty figures in a post on social media website Twitter, and said most were civilians.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement that said 40 police officers had been killed or wounded. The group often makes exaggerated casualty claims for its attacks.
Ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the explosion site in the crowded Dehmazang district west of the city, near the Kabul traffic directorate, which is visited by those seeking driving licences and other documents.
"I saw three bodies on the ground and a number of other people wounded, then ambulances arrived and took all the victims away," said witness Mohammad Ajmal.
The Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) was set up as a gendarmerie-style unit to control riots and urban disorder but have also been used in counterinsurgency roles against the Taliban.