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Suicide bomber strikes Afghan police checkpoint, killing 11

May 19, 2012 |  8:15 am

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber struck a police checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing 11 people, three of them police officers and six of them passing schoolchildren, Afghan officials said.

The bombing in Khowst province came on the eve of a NATO summit in Chicago, where the alliance and its partners will chart the winding down of the decade-old war, but also examine ways to remain engaged in Afghanistan. At the top of the agenda is agreeing on funding to continue training the Afghan police and army to take on the insurgency when NATO combat troops have left, by 2014.

The provincial police chief, Sardar Mohammad Zazai, said the police officers killed Saturday were manning a checkpoint in Khost’s Tere Zaee district, situated near a crowded bazaar. Schoolchildren were passing by when the bomber struck at the lunch hour. Three other people were injured, Zazai said, including a police officer and a civilian woman. The bomber was also killed.

Khost, near the Pakistan border, lies in the operating territory of the Haqqani network, a Taliban offshoot that is believed to be responsible for an hours-long siege in the capital, Kabul, in April. NATO commanders have said they expect eastern Afghanistan to be the focus of clashes during the spring and summer months, the traditional "fighting season."


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-- Laura King and Hashmat Baktash