ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN —
A Taliban suicide car bomber killed an Afghan regional base commander and two soldiers Saturday in the southeastern province of Khost, officials and insurgents said.
A government spokesman, Mubarez Zadran, told VOA the Afghan forces were targeted in Mando district. The powerful blast also wounded six students from a nearby school, most of whom suffered life-threatening injuries.
A Taliban spokesman who said insurgents carried out the assault claimed the explosion had killed five Afghan special forces members. He asserted the slain Afghan commander was a "trustworthy" partner of U.S. forces and had worked closely with them in the region.
Khost borders Pakistan and was formerly a stronghold of the notorious Haqqani terrorist network, which is fighting alongside the Taliban against local and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Kabul alleges Haqqani fighters stage their attacks from sanctuaries inside Pakistan and contends they receive support from Pakistani intelligence — claims that Islamabad denies.
Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have risen sharply in recent days, as they often do when springtime weather approaches.