Four police officers and two civilians were killed on Monday when Taliban insurgents exploded a remote-controlled bomb in eastern Kapisa province, local officials said.
The blast _ which occurred before midday at a bazaar in the town of Tagab, the capital of Kapisa’s Tagab district _ also wounded 13 civilians, district police chief Colonel Sher Shah Yousufzai told McClatchy Newspapers by phone from the scene.
However, a statement by Afghanistan’s interior ministry put the number of wounded at 17. It said the dead included an Afghan Local Police commander named Karimullah and his son.
The wounded had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, the ministry statement said.
Security in some areas of Kapisa _ which borders Kabul province, to the northeast of the Afghan capital _ has reportedly deteriorated in recent months. Tagab is one of several insurgent strongholds in the province and the site of many attacks on Afghan government and coalition forces.
French troops, who have had responsibility for security in Kapisa, are in the process of passing control to Afghan forces, and will be withdrawn by the end of the year. Four French soldiers were killed and five wounded in Kapisa’s Nirjab district nine days ago when a suicide bomber attacked a French patrol, also wounding three Afghan civilians.
In January, four French soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan counterpart at a joint French-Afghan base at Tagab. A fifth soldier later died of his injuries.
The January incident prompted France’s then-president Nicolas Sarkozy to accelerate his troops’ departure from Afghanistan by a year, to the end of 2013. Francois Hollande, Sarkozy’s recently elected successor, has resisted pressure from the White House to back away from his pledge to withdraw troops 12 months earlier.
Also on Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as the coalition is formally known, said one of its service members had died of wounds following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan. ISAF refused to provide any details about the location of the attack or the nationality of the service member.
ISAF said it had no confirmation of a report that two Italian soldiers were injured on Monday after their patrol in western Afghanistan was targeted by an improvised explosive device, or home-made bomb.