KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber struck in a square in the center of Kunduz City in northern Afghanistan on Saturday afternoon, killing 10 policemen, including 2 senior officers, in an ugly reprise of a bombing nearly two years ago that killed the police chief.
The bomb blast as the sun set was felt miles away; it wounded 29 people who were in the square, including 5 police officers, said Afghan officials in the province.
It was the first suicide bombing since September in Kunduz, which has been one of the two most violent provinces in Afghanistan's north over the last three years. The other is Faryab Province, according to Western officials.
On Sunday, 10 people were killed when a police truck hit a roadside bomb in Kandahar, The Associated Press reported. Eight of the victims were said to be police officers and two of them detainees.
The bombing in Kunduz killed the head of the police counterterrorism department, Abudllah Zemarai, and the head of the traffic police, Sayyed Aslam Sadat. Both men regularly went to the central square to check on the mood in the city and to show their presence, said Sayyid Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the police chief.
The police had not yet determined whether the bomber was on foot or on a motorcycle. They do not believe he was in a car because they found no trace of a vehicle amid the wreckage but could not even be sure of that because the destruction was so great, Mr. Hussaini said.
Kunduz, which shares a border with Tajikistan, has a mixed population of Tajiks, Pashtuns and Uzbeks. It has had some pockets of Taliban militants, but American Special Operations forces have conducted several aggressive campaigns to oust them. For a time the efforts appeared to have made a considerable difference, opening roads in much of the province.
The two most recent suicide bombings, one in September and this one, suggest that some insurgent cells may have returned. The district also has a large number of armed groups, many of them outside the government's control.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.