x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Motorcycle bomber hits Afghan convoy

Three Afghan soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber rode a motorcycle packed with explosives into a military convoy in Kandahar.

Three Afghan soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber rode a motorcycle packed with explosives into a military convoy in Kandahar province on Monday, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the soldiers as they patrolled the motorway that goes through Kandahar's troubled Zhari district to the western city of Herat. "A suicide attacker rode a motorbike filled with explosives into one of our patrols this morning," Sher Mohammad Zazai, an army general in southern Afghanistan, said.

"Three of our soldiers were martyred and four others were injured." The district chief of Zhari confirmed the incident, adding that two female civilians were also wounded in the bombing. "There was a suicide bombing against an ANA (Afghan National Army) convoy earlier today. Three soldiers were killed," Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi said. Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi called AFP from an unknown location to claim responsibility for the bombing.

"We carried out the attack," the rebel spokesman said. There are about 90,000 foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan helping the local forces battle the Taliban and other insurgent groups. The Taliban were in government between 1996 and 2001, before being ousted in a US-led offensive, and are now waging a fierce insurgency to regain power and oust the Western troops from Afghanistan. Also Monday, a child was killed and 21 people injured in an explosion at an ammunition cache in eastern Nangarhar province, the defence ministry said.

It was not known what caused the explosion at the stockpile at a military base, the ministry statement said, adding: "It's being investigated." Elsewhere in Nangarhar, police opened fire on a vehicle carrying a candidate for the provincial council elections due to be held alongside the nation's presidential polls on August 20. The driver was killed when police opened fire on the vehicle after it did not stop at a checkpoint, the interior ministry said.

Afghanistan is due to hold its second-ever presidential elections amid concerns over security as insurgent attacks reach record highs in recent weeks. *AFP