KABUL, (Reuters) – A remote-controlled bomb targeting an Afghan police convoy killed five policemen in the troubled southern province of Uruzgan on Friday, a provincial government official said.
No further details were immediately available, spokesman Abdul Qayon said. Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber trying to assassinate a member of parliament killed one civilian and wounded seven in Kabul, police said.
The targeted MP, Padshah Khan Zadran, escaped unhurt when the man with explosives strapped to his body threw himself at the politician’s car.
At least three of Zadran’s bodyguards were wounded in the attack, along with five passers-by. The vehicle was destroyed by the blast, and the street in the capital was stained with blood.
Alishah Paktiawal, from the police crime branch, said one of the wounded later died in hospital. He said the assassination attempt had come just a day or so after police foiled another death plot against the politician.
This year has seen the bloodiest fighting since U.S.-led troops ousted the Taliban’s strict Islamist government in 2001.
There has been a dramatic rise in suicide bombings in Afghanistan, a tactic rarely seen here before.
Fighting in the country has hit a peak since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. More than 4,000 people, about a quarter of them civilians, have been killed as the insurgency gains strength, with the Taliban bolstered by money from the illegal drugs trade and by safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan.
As winter snows block passes and make fighting hard in many parts of the country, leading to a traditional lull, the Taliban has pledged to stage even more suicide attacks.
Although common and devastating in Iraq, the tactic was rarely used in Afghanistan until this year. About 200 people have been killed in such blasts, compared with only a handful in 2005.