An Afghan official said a man on foot detonated his vest packed with explosives at the entrance to the military base

A suicide bomber wearing an Afghan security-forces uniform has blown himself up at the entrance to a military base in eastern province of Laghman, killing five foreign and four Afghan soldiers, officials say.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed in a statement on Saturday the deaths of five of its men. It is the highest toll of foreign soldiers in a single incident in several months.

General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, an Afghan defence ministry spokesman, said a man on foot detonated his vest packed with explosives about 7:30am local time at the entrance to the base, which is shared by Afghan and international forces.

"The attacker had the Afghan security force uniform on and that gave him the opportunity to reach the entrance to the base and carry out the attack," Azimi said.

Baz Mohammad Sherzad, the director for health in nearby Nangarhar province, said the bodies of the four Afghan soldiers were brought to a hospital in Jalalabad. He said many others were wounded in the blast.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

In an e-mail to reporters, Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said the bomber was from Day Kundi province in central Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera correspondent Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Kabul, said, "The latest attack raises concerns about security because the bomber went through at least three main checkpoints in this heavily guarded military base."

"We don't know whether it was a security breach or Taliban infiltrating military bases of the army and police in different parts of Afghanistan."

Police chief assassinated

The attack in Laghman came a day after Khan Mohammad Mujahid, the police chief of Kandahar, the capital of the southern Kandahar province, was killed in a suicide attack.

Afghanistan's interior ministry confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least two other senior police officers were killed in the attack, one of them an anti-terrorism officer, which took place just outside the heavily guarded police headquarters.

 

A suicide bomber penetrated the defences of the police headquarters in Kandahar city, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor said.

"Initial information shows that the police chief and two other policemen were killed inside his office," Zalmay Ayoubi, the spokesman, said.

Shir Shah, the province's deputy police chief, said: "The suicide attacker had strapped explosives to his body.

"He detonated himself at the gate of Kandahar police headquarters. Police chief Khan Mohammad Mujahid has been martyred, [and] two policemen have been injured."

Yusuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said one of its members was behind the fatal attack.

"He had disguised himself as a policeman and shot the police chief with his pistol, hugged him and then detonated himself," Ahmadi said.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies