KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up during a meeting at a provincial governor's compound Saturday in northern Afghanistan, killing six people, including two German soldiers, and wounding the top German commander in the country, officials said.
The bomber detonated his explosives vest in a room in the governor's complex in Takhar province where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition, said Faiz Mohammed Tawhedi, a spokesman for the governor. The governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, suffered several burns.
"What we know is the guy who carried out the attack had a police uniform on," Tawhedi said. "How he entered the meeting room and why he was not searched, we don't know."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the late afternoon attack — the latest in an uptick of violence as the Islamic extremist movement has launched its spring offensive. The effectiveness of the Taliban's campaign could affect the size of President Barack Obama's planned drawdown of U.S. troops in July.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it was part of the insurgency's assassination campaign against high-ranking government officials. The bombing also was meant to undercut a military offensive the Afghan National Army was planning to launch in the north, the Taliban spokesman said. German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Saturday in Berlin that two German troops were killed and three wounded, including Gen. Markus Kneip, the NATO force's commander for northern Afghanistan.
Saturday's attack seemed certain to inflame antiwar sentiment in Germany, where the Afghan conflict has become a major political issue. Germany has 5,000 troops serving in Afghanistan, nearly all of them in the north, which has grown steadily more violent over the last two years. Several insurgent groups have become entrenched in a swath of provinces, including Takhar.
Four Afghans were also killed. Among them was Gen. Daud Daud, police commander in northern Afghanistan, said Dr. Hassain Basech, health director of the province. Daud was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the U.S. invasion.
Also killed were provincial police chief Gen. Shah Jahan Noori, a secretary to the governor, and one of Daud's bodyguards, the health director said.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, calling it a "barbaric act of terror."
This report contains information from the Los Angeles Times.