October 10, 2005

Afghan suicide attacks kill 6, wound 8

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Two suicide explosions in
the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Monday killed six
people and wounded eight, officials said.

They said a suicide bomber blew himself up in the city
center, killing a senior anti-Taliban commander and three

Eight people were also hurt in the blast which was followed
by a second in which a suicide bomber died on the road leading
to the airport when a bomb strapped to his body exploded
prematurely, said Kandahar governor Assadullah Kahlid.

There were no other casualties, he said. U.S.-led troops
are based at Kandahar airport.

"Both incidents were the work of suicide bombers of Taliban
and al Qaeda," Khalid said.

Among the victims killed in the first blast was a former
senior factional commander, Agha Shah, Kandahar police chief
Colonel Mohammad Hakim said.

"I can say now that at least four people, including Agha
Shah, have lost their lives in the explosion," Hakim said.

Body parts from the victims of the first explosion were
strewn on the dusty road outside Shah's house in a crowded area
of Kandahar.

Shah was among local commanders who helped U.S.-led forces
to overthrew the Taliban government in 2001.

A Taliban commander, who identified himself as Sabir Momin,
claimed responsibility for the first incident.

There have now been four suicide attacks in less than a
week in Kandahar, the Taliban's former stronghold.

On Sunday, four British government officials on a visit to
help improve customs services in the restive province were
wounded in a suicide attack close to the city center.

Last Wednesday, a suicide bomber and a child were killed
when the man detonated explosives in a car near a convoy of
Canadian forces near the airport.

Suicide attacks have been rare in Afghanistan compared to
those against U.S.-led and Iraqi forces in Iraq, but the
Taliban say a number of their "devotees" have infiltrated major
cities for suicide missions.

(Additional reporting by Saeed Ali Achakzai)