2 Afghan Suicide Bombings Kill 14

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A pair of suicide bombings killed at least 14 people in southern Afghanistan on Friday, including a dozen policemen who were sitting down to lunch when a man in a police uniform set off his explosives, Afghan officials said.

A few hours earlier, a suicide bomber killed a border policeman and a civilian in Kandahar Province at the frequently traversed Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan, said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the provincial government.

The Taliban could not be immediately reached for comment. But both attacks on Friday fit a Taliban pattern of targeting Afghan security forces as the American-led coalition pulls back from front-line positions and shifts to a support role.

The insurgents have used a host of tactics including ambushes, roadside bombs and suicide bombings to get at the security forces. They have also employed turncoats and infiltrators to conduct insider attacks.

On Friday, the authorities were investigating "preliminary" indications that the bomber at the police station had been aided by an insider, said Amir Muhammad Akhunzada, the governor of Oruzgan Province, where the attack took place.

Apart from witness accounts that the bomber was wearing a police uniform, "there are some unconfirmed reports that the suicide bomber was invited by someone for lunch," Mr. Akhunzada said.

At the same time, he added, "the compound is poorly guarded, and locals get in and out of the building with minimum security checks."

The dead included the commander of the station, which is on the outskirts of Tirin Kot, the capital of Oruzgan. It guards the road connecting the city with Kandahar, to the south.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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