KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday at the main gate of a provincial police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 11 people in a city where Afghans have recently taken control of security.
Separately, five international service members were killed Sunday.
The suicide bombing in Lashkar Gah was the latest in a string of attacks in the south in recent weeks that have included assassinations of top officials in neighboring Kandahar and a coordinated attack against government buildings in Uruzgan province that killed 19 people last week.
The high-profile attacks have provoked a growing sense of insecurity in the very region where international military commanders say security has improved since the surge of U.S. troops last year. Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, in particular has been touted as a success story from the offensive by international forces — one reason it was one of seven areas handed over to Afghan forces in July.
The attack early Sunday, which ripped a gaping hole in the station compound's wall, killed 10 police officers and a child, and wounded at least 12, said Helmand provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
It came as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, toured Afghanistan for a second day. Mullen told reporters that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has until mid October to submit a plan for the initial withdrawal of American troops. His comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Marine Gen. John Allen to submit plans for the withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year.
In other violence, an international service member was killed in a predawn bomb attack in the east, another in an insurgent attack in the west, and three more from a "nonbattle related injury" in the west, according to NATO statements. A NATO spokesman declined to explain the cause of the last three deaths. The statements did not give the nationalities of the dead.