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Suicide attack kills five, rockets hit Kabul

An Afghan intelligence agent and four civilians were killed in a suicide attack in southern Afghanistan, while the Taliban fired eight rockets into Kabul early on Tuesday, wounding two people, officials said.

world Updated: Aug 04, 2009 20:01 IST

An Afghan intelligence agent and four civilians were killed in a suicide attack in southern Afghanistan, while the Taliban fired eight rockets into Kabul early on Tuesday, wounding two people, officials said.

In Shah Joy district in the southern province of Zabul, a bomber, who had strapped explosives around his body, detonated himself close to an intelligence vehicle, killing himself and five others, Gholan Jailani, the deputy provincial police chief, said.

"One intelligence officer, and four civilians were killed and 17 civilians and three security forces (personnel) were wounded in the attack," he said.

No group took responsibility for the bombing, but Taliban militants, who were driven from power in late 2001, have been behind such attacks in the past.

Meanwhile, in a rare attack on capital city, Taliban militants fired eight rockets into Kabul early on Tuesday, an interior ministry spokesman said.

"This morning at around 4 am, there were eight rocket attacks on Kabul city, and these rockets hit different districts of Kabul city," Zemrai Bashary told DPA.

"Fortunately there were no heavy casualties, only two civilians, a child and a man, were wounded," he said, adding, "The police have started an investigation into these rocket attacks."

Bashary said that police units were immediately deployed to the area from where the rockets were fired, adding "fortunately... another rocket was discovered and defused".

One of the rockets landed in Wazir Akbar Khan, a diplomatic enclave, where the headquarters of the NATO-led international forces and several embassies including those of the US, Germany, Britain and France are located, a police official said.

Other rockets landed near the international airport, the city centre and in the eastern part of the city, where several NATO military camps are located.

Footage on Tolo, a private television channel, showed several houses and a car with their windows blown out in downturn Kabul.

The rockets were fired from from Deh Sabz, on the northeastern outskirts of Kabul.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted at their website, saying the targets were army bases and the international airport.

Tuesday's attacks were the biggest in Kabul in several years.

The attacks in the Afghan capital came ahead of the Aug 20 presidential election after the government had said Kabul would be the safest locale for the voting in the country plagued by a Taliban-led insurgency.

The Taliban is boycotting the polls and has ordered all its fighters through a statement posted on its website last week to disrupt the election and intensify assaults on Afghan and international military targets.

"We expected that the enemies attack before the elections and they are doing this to dismantle the process, but we will never let them do that, we will never let the enemies fulfill their negative targets and aims," Bashary said.

"This was a disturbing attack and we will investigate it," he added.