KABUL — The Taliban took responsibility Monday for a bomb blast in Afghanistan that killed six American service members, while other militants launched suicide attacks on two police headquarters that left 20 people dead, according to officials.
German Brigadier General Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said the six Americans were killed Sunday when their armored vehicle struck a bomb planted in eastern Afghanistan. He said a seventh American soldier was killed in a separate insurgent attack in the south.
The deadly attacks on a violent day showed the militants’ resilience, though the target date of NATO’s handover of security responsibility to local forces is less than 18 months away.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility in a statement for the attack in Wardak Province, just south of Kabul.
Coalition and Afghan forces are trying to secure areas of Wardak that insurgents use as gateways into the Afghan capital, where they stage high-profile attacks on Afghan government and NATO targets.
Wardak provincial police chief General Abdul Qayum Baqizoi said that after the explosion in Jalrez district, a coalition airstrike killed a local Taliban commander and wounded three insurgents.
In the south, three suicide bombers riding in a three-wheeled vehicle blew themselves up Monday afternoon in Kandahar city, said Kandahar provincial spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal.
A short time later, more suicide bombers tried to attack the police headquarters in Kandahar, but they were gunned down by police before they could get into the compound, Faisal said.
Three police officers and two children were killed in the attack. Another 18 policemen and 12 civilians were wounded.
A total of 14 suicide attackers, who fired at police for about two hours, blew themselves up or were shot and killed by police.
Militants also attacked a police headquarters building in Shibirghan, the capital of Jawzjan province in the north, wounding 26 people; and in Ghazni Province in the east, gunmen assassinated a chief prosecutor.