Twin blasts hit Afghan police HQ, two dead, 35 wounded

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers detonated explosives inside police headquarters of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Sunday, killing two policemen and wounding 35 people, police said.

Afghan policemen keep watch outside the main police station after suicide blasts in Kandahar September 7, 2008. REUTERS/Ismail Sameem

A senior border police commander, Abdul Razaaq, was among 27 officers wounded, police chief Matiuallah told reporters. The other wounded were civilians.

The blasts occurred hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack on an Italian convoy in western Herat, but without causing casualties.

In the Kandahar attack, one bomber blew himself up in the main building by stairs leading to the police chief’s office, while the other set off his explosives in the compound. An investigation has begun into how the two men got into the building.

The attack is the latest in worsening violence in recent months in Afghanistan where the al Qaeda-backed Taliban have made a comeback.

About 2,500 people, including 1,000 civilians, have been killed in fighting in the first six months this year, aid agencies say.

Earlier, officials said U.S.-led soldiers, backed by air support, and Afghan police killed more than 20 Taliban fighters in two separate clashes.

A U.S. military statement said its forces killed more than 10 insurgents during an operation in the southeast province of Khost on Saturday, and did not mention any American casualties.

In Helmand, a southern province also regarded as a Taliban stronghold, militants lost 10 men in an assault on a police post, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said. Four police were wounded defending their post.

The Taliban could not be reached immediately for comment about any of the incidents.

Suicide bombers and roadside bomb attacks, ambushes and kidnapping are the guerrillas’ favoured tactics.

On Saturday, the Taliban abducted four Afghan employees of a security firm in Maidan Wardak province, on the main highway southwest of Kabul, a provincial official said.