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Afghan insurgents storm police compound, kill six

The men were wearing police uniforms, matching previous attacks.

New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents wearing police uniforms and armed with suicide vests stormed a police compound in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday morning, engaging in a firefight that lasted several hours before Afghan and NATO security forces regained control of the complex, government officials said.

Three police officers and two Afghan soldiers were killed in the attack. A civilian was also wounded while walking by the compound and later died at the hospital, officials said.

The attack occurred a mile east of the provincial capital of Khost, a volatile province bordering the tribal areas of Pakistan that have served as a haven for militants crossing into Afghanistan. It follows a pattern of attacks this spring in which insurgents wearing Afghan military or police uniforms have attacked fortified government compounds.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber believed to be wearing an army uniform blew himself up in a tent on the grounds of the military hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing six people who were training to be medics and wounding more than 20 others.

In Sunday's attack, a group of men in Afghan border police uniforms got out of a station wagon and rushed toward the traffic police department and killed the gate security guard, said Abdul Jabar Naeemi, governor of Khost province.

There are conflicting accounts of how many attackers were involved. The governor said there were three, but a police officer who witnessed the assault said he saw four attackers.

The militants killed two more police officers as they ran inside the two-story building and then began firing down from the top floor onto a small police base below that housed a detachment of quick reaction forces, said Mohammed Yaqoob Noorzia, the deputy provincial police chief. The men were wearing vests laden with explosives and were armed with rocket propelled grenades and AK-47s, he said.

Afghan and NATO security forces surrounded the compound, and a firefight ensued. Two soldiers were killed trying to enter the building, which caught fire, Naeemi said. The shooting finally stopped about 2:30 p.m. after one of the suicide bombers detonated his vest and the other two were shot to death, Naeemi said. The building later burned entirely, the governor said.