Taliban attack kills six Afghan intelligence members

Taliban attack kills six Afghan intelligence members
2 min read
21 March, 2017
A suicide car bomber targeted a checkpoint in southern Helmand province manned by intelligence officers, in the latest attack by Taliban insurgents on Afghan security.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack [AFP]

At least six members of an intelligence service unit were killed when a suicide car bomber targeted an Afghan forces' checkpoint in southern Helmand province, an Kabul official said on Tuesday.

Seven other members of the service were wounded in the attack, which took place late on Monday night in the district of Gareshk, close to the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, according to Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor in Helmand.

The attack was later claimed by the Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi.

The Taliban have expanded their footprint in Helmand province has witnessed some of the heaviest clashes between militants and security forces in the past years.

The militant group has stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counter-terrorism.

The attack comes just a day after Pakistan ordered the immediate reopening of its border with Afghanistan a month after it was closed amid soaring tensions.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the two main crossings on the long, porous border be reopened as a gesture of "goodwill", a statement from his office said, as Islamabad and Kabul accused one another of providing safe haven for militants.

The attacks, most of which were claimed by the Islamic State group or the Pakistani Taliban, dented optimism after the country appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy.

Pakistan's powerful military as well as the civilian government swiftly pointed fingers at Afghanistan, blaming Kabul for harbouring those behind the attacks.

Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban, and the claim sparked a diplomatic furore as both countries traded allegations.