KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide bombers struck NATO fuel trucks at a key border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Thursday, setting off explosions that destroyed dozens of trucks and triggering a gunbattle with police guards that left all three attackers dead, officials said.
The attack underscored the instability plaguing the country and the continuing danger to the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan as combat forces prepare to withdraw by the end of this year.
Western officials had hoped a peaceful transfer of authority to a new president in democratic elections would help ease the transition, but instead allegations of massive fraud in the June 14 runoff vote have plunged the country into a new political crisis.
Abdullah Abdullah, who is running against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, said Thursday that the Independent Electoral Commission had ignored his call to stop the ballot counting and other demands so he will not resume cooperation with the panel or its affiliated complaints commission.
Ahmadzai has not publicly spoken on Abdullah's announcement, but his spokesmen have said it was a violation of a code of conduct signed by both candidates who agreed to cooperate with the electoral commissions. His campaign has joined the international community in urging patience and respect for the process.