Suicide bombing kills 9 in Afghan bloodshed

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A suicide bomber targeted a base in eastern Afghanistan belonging to the country's intelligence service early yesterday, killing at least nine members of the force.
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A suicide bomber in a stolen military Humvee targeted a base in eastern Afghanistan belonging to the country’s intelligence service early yesterday, killing at least nine members of the force, a provincial official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

At least 40 members of the force were wounded in the attack near the city of Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni proince, said Arif Noori, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Eight were in critical condition and were transferred to the capital Kabul for further treatment.

Noori said the bomber used a stolen military Humvee and detonated his vehicle full of explosives as he approached the main gate to the base. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents were behind the attack in the province where the Taliban control most of the countryside.

The provincial capital, briefly fell to Taliban control twice in recent years. The province has in the past been the scene of many large-scale attacks against both Afghan and NATO forces.

The latest attack came a day after President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-shared agreement overcomes one of the hurdles to negotiations with the Taliban, which warned yesterday that talks cannot open until a so-far piecemeal prisoner swap is completed.

“That which is taking place in Kabul is only a repetition of the past failed experiences,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.

“Afghan sides should focus on real and sincere solution to the issue... The prisoners’ release process should be completed and the intra-Afghan negotiations should start.”

The prisoner exchange was agreed under a US-Taliban deal signed in February, which excluded the Afghan government. Kabul has so far released about 1,000 Taliban prisoners, while the militants claim to have freed 263 government captives.

Last week President Ashraf Ghani ordered security forces to switch to an “offensive” position against the militants after two deadly attacks killed dozens of people.

“The Taliban didn’t give up fighting and killing Afghans, instead they have increased their attacks on our countrymen,” Ghani said.

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