Nine dead in two Taliban attacks

Insurgents shoot six police officers at checkpoint as suicide bomber kills three civilians

Afghanistan National Army and US soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, during a patrol in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/New York Times

Afghanistan National Army and US soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, during a patrol in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/New York Times

Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 21:35

Taliban insurgents shot six police officers dead at a checkpoint as a suicide bomber killed three civilians at a shopping bazaar in two attacks in eastern Afghanistan yesterday.

The attacks came during a surge in hostilities as Afghanistan’s spring fighting season begins. This year’s is being closely watched because Afghan forces must operate with less support from the international military coalition.

With foreign forces due to hand over combat responsibilities to the local forces next year, the current fighting is a test of their ability to take on the country’s insurgency.

The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office reported yesterday that insurgent-initiated attacks increased by 47 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same period last year. The US-led Nato coalition has stopped releasing statistics on insurgent attacks in Afghanistan.

April has been the deadliest month this year for security forces and Afghan and foreign civilians.

According to an AP tally, 222 people have been killed in violence around the nation this month, including the latest nine fatalities. – ( AP )