Official says suicide bomber kills 5 police in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least five policemen were killed by a suicide bomber using a military Humvee in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province, an official said Tuesday.

Arif Noori, the governor's spokesman in Ghazni, said 26 others including a district governor and 18 police were wounded in the attack in Muqar district. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Humvee was taken earlier from Afghan forces by Taliban fighters in a separate attack, said Noori.

Also on Tuesday, the Islamic State group in a statement claimed responsibility for another attack carried out Monday outside the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry in the capital Kabul as employees were leaving work, killing 12 people. Afghan officials said more than 30 others were wounded.

The Taliban have agreed to a cease-fire coinciding with the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The holiday is set to begin later this week. The IS affiliate is not included in the cease-fire.

Meanwhile a provincial official said Taliban insurgents took control of a district headquarters in northern Faryab province late Monday.

Javed Bedar, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Abdul Rahman Falah, the Kohistan district governor, was killed in the attack.

"Reinforcements arrived in the area and they are trying to take back the district headquarters," he said.

Mohammad Hanif Rezaie, army spokesman in the northern region, said eight security forces were also killed in the fighting. He added that at least 13 Taliban were killed and nine others wounded.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. He said fighters were able to take control of all government buildings and security checkpoints in the district.

In another report form northern Sari Pul province, Taliban insurgents overran an army base in Sayyad district, killing five soldiers.

Rezaie, the army spokesman, said eight soldiers were wounded and a sporadic gun battle was still ongoing. Three were missing, he said.

The Taliban did not immediately comment on the attack in Sari Pul province.

Taliban leader Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzadah urged the United States to move quickly to negotiate an end to their presence in Afghanistan to show they believe in peace.

"They must directly present themselves to the negotiation table so that this tragedy, whose destructive effects mainly harm the American and Afghan people, can be resolved through talks," he said, in a message for the upcoming Eid holiday. Force will not solve the conflict, he added.

The message also took aim at Afghan religious scholars who had recently deemed suicide attacks illegitimate, saying that the U.S. and its allies were co-opting the scholars as a last-ditch effort to mitigate their defeat.

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