Taliban attack Afghan checkpoint; 16 killed
The Taliban yesterday killed at least 16 people at an Afghan police checkpoint and bombed an army bus in Kabul, highlighting a growing trend of strikes on Afghan rather than Nato targets.
Details of the pre-dawn attack on an Afghan Local Police (ALP) checkpoint in the eastern province of Ghazni were murky. Officials said they were investigating how the militants breached security at the post.
ALP national commander General Alishah Ahmadzai said 10 policemen and "five or six local villagers" who took part in an uprising against the Taliban in the Andar district of Ghazni had been killed.
"Initial information shows they were first poisoned and then shot, but we have to wait for the final report of our investigative team," he said.
Two other provincial officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 16 died in the attack and all were policemen. The same officials said the Taliban poisoned the men before shooting them and seizing their weapons.
Provincial governor Musa Khan Akbarzada gave a death toll of 17 including seven civilians and said a team had been sent to investigate the incident.
A spokesman for the Taliban, who are leading an 11-year fight against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, claimed responsibility for the Ghazni killings and the suicide attack in Kabul.
Western officials say insurgents are shifting their strategy away from focusing on the US-led Nato combat mission, which is due to withdraw next year, to targeting Afghan forces preparing to take over.