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Suicide Bomber Kills Northern Afghanistan Police Commander

Afghan security stand outside the provincial governor's compound as smoke is seen rising from inside in Taloqan, Takhar province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 28, 2011

A suicide bomber has struck a governor's compound in northern Afghanistan, killing at least seven provincial officials and NATO coalition soldiers.

The spokesperson for Takhar province, Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, said the bomber was wearing a police uniform Saturday morning when he attacked a meeting in Takhar province's Taloqan city.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tawhedi said General Dawood Dawood, the police commander in northern Afghanistan and a former deputy interior minister, is among the dead. He said a provincial police chief, Shah Jahan Noori, and three NATO soldiers from Germany were also killed.

Authorities say 10 people were also wounded in the explosion, including the provincial governor.

In other news, Afghanistan's president has ordered NATO forces to stop conducting "special operations and night raids."

In a statement Saturday, Hamid Karzai said Afghan forces should conduct these missions itself. Karzai has criticized NATO's nighttime raids, which are unpopular among Afghans, and are blamed by many Afghans for causing civilian deaths.

But NATO defended the raids Saturday, saying they are necessary to gain ground against the leaders of the Taliban insurgency. The statement said NATO would work with Afghan forces to eventually transition the raids from NATO-led with Afghan participation, to Afghan-led.

Separately, NATO said two British soldiers were killed Friday by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.