KHOST: A car bomb attack on an Afghan police base followed by an ongoing gun battle have killed two policemen and wounded dozens of people in a city bordering Pakistan, officials said yesterday. The complex attack in the city of Khost was launched early in the morning, and has wounded 14 security personnel and nine civilians. A gun battle near the base was ongoing, an AFP correspondent reported. The car bomb was detonated at the gate of a special police forces base in Khost city, a security source said.
After the blast a group of attackers tried to enter the base compound resulting in a gun battle with security forces, Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters. Four attackers have been killed while two more were still fighting, Arian said. Khost provincial health official Gul Mohammad said women and children were among the wounded.
No group has so far claimed the attack on the base. Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent weeks even as the Taleban and Afghan government remain engaged in peace talks to end the country’s long-running conflict. Afghan and US officials have repeatedly warned that the rising bloodshed was threatening the peace talks being held in Qatar since last month. Most attacks by the Taleban have targeted Afghan security forces, although scores of civilians have also been killed.
Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taleban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations said yesterday. From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report.
“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the mission said in a quarterly report. Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taleban that began in the Qatari capital of Doha last month.
The Taleban were responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. US-led international forces were responsible for 2 percent. Most of the remainder came in crossfire, or were caused by Islamic State militants or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, it said. Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taleban and air strikes by Afghan troops, the UN mission said. – Agencies