A suicide bomber dressed as a woman blew himself up at an army checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan, killing five other people and wounding four, police said Thursday. The blast occurred in eastern Khost province Wednesday as soldiers were checking the assailant's vehicle, said Mohammed Ayub, the regional police chief.
The attacker was sitting in the back-seat of the vehicle and detonated explosives hidden under a woman's all-encompassing burqa shroud when soldiers asked to see his ID, Ayub said.
Three Afghan soldiers, the driver of the vehicle and a farmer working nearby were killed along with the bomber, Ayub said. It was not clear whether the driver was an associate of the assailant or an innocent victim. Three soldiers were wounded, as well as a second farmer. Police initially reported on the blast late Wednesday, but they said it was caused by a land mine and that only two soldiers were killed. Ayub accused the Taliban of being responsible for the attack.
"The bomber probably wanted to go into Khost city for a suicide attack there, but panicked and blew himself up when the soldiers started checking," he said.
The bombing is the latest in an unprecedented string of suicide attacks in recent months. The tactic represents a new and disturbing security threat four years after the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.
There have been a series of protests across Afghanistan in recent weeks against the bombings. On Thursday, more than 1,000 people demonstrated in southern Helmand province, demanding an end to the attacks, regional administrator Ghulam Muhiddin said. He said students, Muslim clerics and other civilians took part in the rally and demanded the international community urge Pakistan to stop its alleged support for the militants, reports the AP. I.L.