Taliban kill 26 in different Afghanistan attacks


Suicide bomber hits procession commemorating death of Ahmad Shah Massoud


Insurgents have killed at least 26 Afghan security forces in separate attacks as many marked the 17th anniversary of the killing of a prominent anti-Taliban leader. The Taliban attacked a district headquarters west of Kabul late Saturday, killing 10 police, including a district chief, and setting of a gunbattle that was still underway, said Hakmat Durani, spokesman for the police chief of Maidan Wardak province. He said dozens of insurgents were killed in Afghan airstrikes, and that reinforcements were being sent to the area.
In a separate attack late Saturday, militants targeted a checkpoint in the western Herat province, killing nine security forces and wounding six others, said Gelani Farhad, the provincial governor’s spokesman. He blamed the attack on the Taliban, saying around 10 insurgents were killed and five wounded during the ensuing gunbattle.
No one claimed responsibility for either attack.
At least seven people were killed and 25 wounded on Sunday when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated explosives near a procession in Kabul commemorating the death of former anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, a government official said. Government spokesman Wahid Majroh said that seven bodies and 25 injured people were taken to the hospital from the attack site.
Earlier, gunfire could be heard across the city as demonstrators fired automatic weapons in aggressive displays of support for Massoud, an ethnic Tajik leader who was killed by suicide bombers in 2001.
The attacks came on the eve of the anniversary of the killing of Ahmad Shah Masoud, who led the resistance to the Taliban in the late 1990s and was killed by suicide bombers two days before the Sept 11 attacks. The US responded to the attacks by invading Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, who had harboured Al Qaeda.
Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said another 14 people were hospitalised, some in critical condition. Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said the explosion shattered windows and shook nearby buildings in the Afghan capital. Among the dead was the driver of a car taking part in the commemorations. He veered off the road and into the front of a shop when the blast happened.
Afghan government officials commemorated Masoud’s death on Sunday by laying flowers at his monument in Kabul. Supporters of Masoud, including young people who came of age long after his death, fired guns in the air in an expression of mourning. At least 13 people were wounded by the stray bullets, Majroh said.—AP

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