Blasts in southern Afghanistan kill 9
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up at a local intelligence office in southern Afghanistan, in the deadliest of three attacks that left at least nine people dead on Saturday, officials said.
Six people -- four Afghan intelligence officers, a coalition service member and a civilian employee working for the coalition -- died in the bombing, which took place in the Maruf district of Kandahar province.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi saying in a text message to reporters that the group was targeting international forces operating in Afghanistan.
Kandahar provincial spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal said the blast occurred in the morning at an entry point to the intelligence office. He said three other Afghan intelligence officers were wounded, including two who were in critical condition.
Insurgents frequently target Afghan security forces and government officials in an effort to weaken the government.
Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the international coalition, confirmed that one coalition service member and a civilian working with the coalition died in the bombing. The wounded were evacuated to coalition medical facilities for treatment, he added.
A second attack killed two Afghan policemen and left three others wounded in Qalat, the capital of neighboring Zabul province, provincial spokesman Shariullah Nasari said. After a police vehicle ran over a roadside mine, he said, a second blast struck police who had rushed to aid their colleagues.
NATO also said that another service member with the U.S.-led coalition was killed in a roadside bombing in the south. It declined to release further information, pending notification of family members of the deceased.