Twenty-one Afghan police were killed and seven more were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his vest at a training center for police reservists in the town of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.
The suicide bomber penetrated the training center’s security by dressing as a policeman, Radio Netherlands reported. The bomber then detonated his suicide vest among a crowd of policemen. Several policemen were seriously wounded and the blast damaged several buildings.
The Taliban took credit for the suicide attack. The Taliban have stepped up attacks on the Afghan police as they are poorly armed and not as well trained as the Afghan Army and Coalition forces. An estimated 720 Afghan policemen were killed during the last six months of 2008. Most were killed in frontal attacks, Afghanistan’s interior ministry reported.
The attack on the Tarin Kot police training facility is the latest in a series of strikes against Afghan police and intelligence headquarters. On Dec. 4, 2008, a three-man suicide team stormed the Khost provincial headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence service. Six intelligence and police officials were killed and another seven were wounded.
Taliban suicide teams struck at security headquarters in southern Afghanistan on two consecutive days in September 2008. On Sept. 6, a Taliban suicide bomber penetrated a secure government building in the southwestern Afghanistan province of Nimroz and detonated his vest. The attack killed six people, including Nimroz province’s intelligence chief and his 20-year-old son.
The next day two Taliban suicide bombers entered a police headquarters in Kandahar province and searched for a senior police general in charge of border security at the Spin Boldak crossing point. Six policemen were killed and 37 were wounded, including the general, in the bombings.
NATO and the US are looking to fill the security vacuum in the south and east, and areas around Kabul. The US will double its forces, while NATO and the Afghan government are creating the Afghan Public Protection Force, which are local militias patterned after the Awakening in Iraq. The US is slated to deploy four combat brigades, or an estimated 30,000 troops, to Afghanistan next summer. A fifth brigade devoted to training Afghan forces may also be sent by the end of the summer.
The Afghan Public Protection Force program has already begun, according to Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s Interior Minister. “After training they will have the responsibility of protecting the people, providing security for the highways, schools, clinics and other government institutions,” Atmar told The Associated Press. Atmar declined to say where the program has begun, but officials told the AP the program will begin in the Taliban-infested province of Wardak, just south of Kabul.
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