A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car Saturday night in front of a police center in southern Afghanistan, killing at least six police officers.
The attacker used a military Humvee vehicle and the blast rocked the Gereshk district of the restive Helmand province, Afghan officials there told VOA.
“The suicide attacker’s target was Gereshk’s main bazaar. The attacker wanted to cause a bloody incident, but blew up his explosives right after being identified by police,” Ismael Khpalwak, the Gereshk district police chief, told VOA.
“Six of our police officers were killed and a bridge was partially damaged,” he said.
A Taliban spokesperson said the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet, stating “an enemy base” was destroyed and more than a dozen Afghan police officers were killed.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Afghan forces came under direct fire late Saturday in eastern Nangarhar Province.
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said two U.S. service members were killed and six others wounded when a combined U.S. and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar province was engaged by direct fire on Feb. 8. He said the wounded service members are undergoing treatment at a U.S. facility.
In a statement Leggett said “current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machinegun.”
Afghan defense sources were quoted by Reuters as saying it was not clear whether the attack was carried out by the Taliban or another organization.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.