Bomb attack kills 6 in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province


McClatchy Newspapers

Four police officers and two civilians were killed Monday when Taliban insurgents exploded a remote-controlled bomb in eastern Kapisa province, local officials said.

The blast – which occurred before midday at a bazaar in the town of Tagab, the capital of Kapisa’s Tagab district – also wounded 13 civilians, district police chief Col. Sher Shah Yousufzai said by phone from the scene. However, a statement by Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry put the number of wounded at 17. It said the dead included an Afghan Local Police commander and his son.

The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, the ministry’s statement said.

Security in some areas of Kapisa – which borders Kabul province, to the northeast of the Afghan capital – reportedly has deteriorated in recent months. Tagab is one of several insurgent strongholds in the province and the site of many attacks on Afghan government and foreign coalition forces.

French troops, who’ve had responsibility for security in Kapisa, are in the process of passing control to Afghan forces, and will be withdrawn by the end of the year. Four French soldiers were killed and five wounded in Kapisa’s Nirjab district earlier this month when a suicide bomber attacked a French patrol, also wounding three Afghan civilians.

In January, four French soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan counterpart at a joint French-Afghan base at Tagab. A fifth soldier later died of his injuries.

The January incident prompted France’s then-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to move up the deadline for his troops’ departure from Afghanistan by one year, to the end of 2013. Francois Hollande, Sarkozy’s recently elected successor, pushed the withdrawal date up a second time, to the end of 2012, over opposition from the White House.

Also on Monday, the International Security Assistance Force, as the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan is formally known, said one of its service members had died of wounds after an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan. The ISAF refused to provide details about the location of the attack or the nationality of the service member.

Separately, the ISAF said it had no confirmation of a report that two Italian soldiers were wounded Monday after their patrol in western Afghanistan was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Stephenson and Safi are McClatchy special correspondents.

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