Eight suicide bombers have killed five police officers in an attack on a police base in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
An insurgent in a bomb-laden car detonated his vehicle in front of the police station to start the attack, and another seven attackers wearing bomb vests then stormed the compound, police said. Three of those attackers blew themselves up inside the compound and the other four were shot by police during a gunfight that lasted more than an hour.
Nangarhar provincial police chief Mohammad Sharif Amin said some of the attackers were wearing uniforms resembling those worn by the US-led NATO coalition.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
It said that it had targeted “foreigners and Israeli teachers” training Afghan police at the base in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar. “There are heavy police casualties,” the group said.
The attack occurred on the second day of a visit to Kabul by US secretary of state John Kerry.
Insurgents have in recent months been carrying out complex attacks involving car bombs and gunmen in bomb vests against government and police buildings around the country.
The attacks are expected to intensify as the traditional spring fighting season gets underway. Heavy snow and bad weather conditions usually put a damper on fighting during the harsh Afghan winter.
On March 14, the Afghan intelligence service seized a massive truck bomb packed with eight tons of explosives on the eastern outskirts of Kabul. They also killed five suspected suicide bombers and arrested two others during a raid to seize the truck.
The truck was apparently meant to carry out an attack on a NATO facility in the capital. According to Afghan intelligence, the truck bomb bore the hallmarks of the Haqqani network, which is known for conducting spectacular attacks.
Affiliated with the Taliban, the network is run by the Haqqani family and is based across the border in Pakistan.