KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – Three suicide bombers penetrated the governor’s compound in Afghanistan’s largest southern city Saturday, killing at least five police officers in the latest multi-pronged attack in the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace.
The three bombers were able to get past a first security checkpoint in the governor’s compound, and one bomber exploded himself at a second checkpoint, said Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president’s brother and the head of Kandahar’s provincial council.
The two other bombers moved deeper into the compound before police fired on them and their explosives detonated, Karzai said.
At least five police died in the attack and nine people were wounded, hospital officials said. The Kandahar governor was not harmed, but officials were searching for a possible fourth suicide bomber, Karzai said.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said he had no immediate comment.
Kandahar, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, has suffered from several sophisticated attacks in recent years.
Earlier this month, four Taliban suicide bombers disguised in army uniforms detonated a car bomb and stormed a government office, killing 13 people.
Last summer Taliban fighters attacked Kandahar’s prison in a multi-pronged assault that included a suicide truck bomb, a suicide bomber on foot and gunmen freeing the prisoners. About 870 prisoners escaped, including roughly 400 jailed insurgents.
Analysts say the Taliban are carrying out more sophisticated attacks because of their alliance and training with al-Qaida and Pakistani militants. Taliban fighters have made a bloody comeback in the last three years after what appeared to be an initial defeat following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. President Barack Obama has ordered 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan this year to bolster the record 38,000 American forces already in the country.