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Central & South Asia
Many killed in Kandahar attack
At least 11 people die in assault on council office in southern Afghan province.
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2009 17:03 GMT

Canadian Nato soldiers secured the area around the police complex following the attack [AFP]

At least 11 people have been killed after suicide bombers raided a provincial council building in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, the interior ministry said.

The ministry said on Wednesday that one bomber blew himself up at the gate of the building, killing the guard, while three more suicide attackers managed to get inside the building and shot people.

Police shot dead two of the would-be bombers, but a third detonated explosives attached to his body, the ministry added in a statement issued in Kabul, the capital.

"As a result of this blast, seven civilians and three police were martyred," the ministry said.

Kandahar's education chief and the province's deputy head of the health department were among the dead, Ahmad Wali Karzai, the council head and a brother of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, told reporters in Kandahar.

Sixteen people, including members of the council, were wounded, officials added.

Earlier, Zemeri Bashary, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman, said five civilians and a police officer had been killed.

He said three attackers had also been killed in the assault, which began with a car bomb explosion.

Suicide vests

The attack bore similarities with a February assault in Kabul where fighters killed 20 people in simultaneous raids on government buildings.

Sayad Ahmad, a council official, said the attackers wore suicide vests.

"Three men with military-style uniforms started opening fire on our security guards, before, one by one, they detonated themselves," Ahmad said.

Haji Agha Lalai, a council member, told the Associated Press news agency he was inside the building when he heard the first explosion.

A surge in violence in Afghanistan is expected this year as 21,000 new troops deployed by Barack Obama, the US president, arrive.

Taliban-linked fighters have carried out a string of deadly attacks in recent months and now control large parts of the countryside where Afghan and international forces do not have enough manpower to maintain a permanent presence.

More than 70,000 US, British and Nato troops are in Afghanistan, aiding government forces fighting the Taliban and their supporters.

Source:
Agencies
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