Rebels kill two Afghan policemen in Kandahar raid

 

Taliban rebels raided a police post in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar today, killing two policemen.

Four policemen were missing after the overnight attack, the latest in a wave of violence as more foreign peacekeepers prepare to deploy to the south.

Two Taliban fighters were killed in the assault on the police post, said Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai.

It was in the same area that nine policemen were killed in a blast on Friday as they were recovering the bodies of four Macedonians whom the Taliban had kidnapped and killed.

On Saturday, Taliban gunmen killed a prominent critic, a powerful former governor of Ghazni province, to the northeast of Kandahar, and four of his guards. Taliban fighters also ambushed the province's current governor, but he escaped unharmed.

The Taliban and allied militants are fighting to oust foreign forces and overthrow the Western-backed government.

In another attack on Sunday, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a convoy of French troops in the southern border town of Spin Boldak, killing himself but causing no other casualties, said an Afghan official who declined to be identified.

A spokesman for French troops, who are members of a U.S.-led coalition force, was not available for comment, but a U.S. military spokesman confirmed the attack.

An initial assessment suggested the blast had been caused by a roadside bomb, said the U.S. spokesman. He said one member of the coalition force had been slightly wounded, but he declined to identify the nationality of the troops involved.

The Taliban have vowed to step up violence in the next few weeks as the weather warms up and snow blocking mountain passes melts. U.S. commanders have also said they expect an increase in insurgent raids and bombings.

NATO members, including Britain, Canada and the Netherlands, are sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan. The United States is hoping to trim its 18,000-strong force by about 3,000.