At least 13 dead in bombing north of Kabul: authorities

KABUL: At least 13 people, including nine civilians, were killed Monday in a suicide bombing claimed by Taliban insurgents against the Afghan police in a remote area 60 kilometres northwest of Kabul, authorities said.

The bomber targeted a local police chief, injuring him on the eve of the latest round of quadrilateral talks to be held in Kabul in a bid to revive the peace process with the Taliban and end more than 14 years of war.

“There are 13 dead, nine civilians and four policemen, as well as 19 injured, 17 of whom are civilians,” Parwan province police chief Mohammed Zaman Mamozai told AFP.

Wahid Sediqqi, spokesman for the provincial governor, gave a lower toll of 14 dead, including six policemen and eight civilians, and said the bomber was riding a motorcycle. The Taliban claimed responsibility on Twitter through spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. The attack occurred in the district of Siagerd, a remote mountainous area where the Taliban are firmly entrenched.

The target was a commander with the Afghan Local Police (ALP), Seddiqi said, the security force set up by the United States in 2010 to help support the government in its fight against the insurgents.

The ALP has been accused of human rights violations and is a regular Taliban target, along with other security forces in the country. The Taliban have intensified their insurgency since the end of NATO’s combat mission in late 2014, multiplying bombings and attacks across Afghanistan.