Rocket attack kills five Afghan civilians

KABUL (Reuters) - Five civilians were killed and 28 wounded when Taliban insurgents fired three rockets into a busy market in northeastern Afghanistan Monday, Afghan police said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed the attack and said in a statement it had initial reports that four Afghans were killed and more than 40 wounded.

No NATO soldiers were killed, it said.

General Matiullah Safi, police chief of Kapisa province, said the Chinese-made rockets struck the crowded market in the Tagab valley, about 75 km (45 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul.

In western Farah province, Taliban insurgents kidnapped and beheaded two Afghans, including a tribal elder, Sunday for “aiding the government,” said provincial chief Faqir Ahmad Askar.

The Taliban had captured five people but later released three, he said.

Several provinces in the previously quiet west and north of Afghanistan have witnessed a dramatic increase in insurgent activity in recent months as the Taliban spreads its influence out of strongholds in the south and east.

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Paul Tait