Intelligence official killed in Afghan city

Car bomb explodes in northern Kunduz, killing the head of intelligence operations for a district in the city.

    In the run-up to the withdrawal of US troops, Taliban intensifies attack on government and security officials [Reuters]

    A car bomb has killed an intelligence official in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, a spokesman for the provincial police chief said.

    Three civilians were also wounded in Thursday's blast from the bomb, which was planted in the car of Payenda Khan, police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Husaini told the Reuters news agency.

    Khan headed intelligence operations for a district in the city of Kunduz, police said.

    The attack comes barely two days after four security guards were killed in a suicide attack on a guest house in Kunduz, which is frequented by foreigners.

    The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Afghan militia said in a text message that the bombing was aimed at senior security officials, AFP news agency reported.

    The militia, which has been fighting US-led international forces since it was ousted from power in 2001, has stepped up targeted assassinations of high-profile politicians and aides in recent weeks.

    Last month Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, mayor of Kandahar city, and President Hamid Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, were killed.

    In May, a suicide bomber infiltrated a high-level meeting in neighbouring Takhar province and killed northern Afghanistan's top police commander, General Daoud Daoud, provincial police chief Shah Jehan Noori and two German soldiers.

    Fighting has been focused in southern and eastern Afghanistan, but the Taliban has been conducting a rising number of attacks in the once-peaceful north.

    With at least 1,462 deaths, the first half of this year has been one of the deadliest for civilians, according to a  UN report in July.

    A gradual transition of security control to Afghan forces began last month when some areas were handed over by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

    Afghan forces are due to take full control across the country by the end of 2014.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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