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AP / The Hindu / KANDAHAR, July 31, 2011.
A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday at the gate of the police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Photo: AP.
A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday at the main gate of a provincial police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 11 people in a city where Afghans have recently taken control of security.
The blast in Lashkar Gah was the latest in a string of attacks in the south in recent weeks that have included assassinations of high-level government officials in neighbouring Kandahar and a coordinated attack against government buildings in Uruzgan province that killed 19 people last week.
The high-profile attacks have provoked a growing sense of insecurity in the very region where international military commanders say security has improved since the surge of U.S. troops last year. Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, in particular has been touted as a success story from the offensive by international forces - one reason it was one of seven areas handed over to Afghan forces earlier this month.
The attack early Sunday, which ripped a gaping hole in the station compound’s wall, killed 10 police officers and a child, and wounded as least 12 people, said Helmand provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi.
People at the site said a police vehicle was on fire at the gate. Ahmadi said a suicide bomber apparently drove a car between two police vehicles at the entrance and then detonated the explosives.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.
It has been less than two weeks since Lashkar Gah was formally handed over to Afghan control in the first stage of a plan to have all of Afghanistan under the oversight of Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. It is the capital city of a province that has been a stronghold for the insurgency and where U.S. Marines have massed over the past year to try to turn back the Taliban.
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