Bomb blast kills 2 Afghan police, wounds 2

A bomb blast on Monday killed two Afghan policemen and wounded two others during an opium eradication patrol in the volatile southern Helmand province, a police official said.

The incident happened at 8 a.m. (0300 GMT) in Helmand's Nawa district, said provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Saber. It was not immediately clear whether the blast was caused by a roadside bomb or a land mine.

Saber said Afghan forces are routinely targeted my militants in Helmand province, Afghanistan's main opium poppy growing region.

Afghanistan supplies some 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin and some of the profits from the illicit business are believed to go to the Taliban.

Separately, about 40 Taliban militants attacked a government building in the northeastern Afghan district of Waygal late Sunday and three of the group's fighters were wounded, said Gen. Abdul Baqi, chief of police in Nuristan province.

Baqi said some of the Taliban rebels wore Afghan army uniforms in the attack, which ended with the fighters escaping into the night. No Afghan forces were wounded.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai's U.S.-backed government. Some 1,600 people were killed in fighting last year, the most since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001.

In the past six months, the rebels have started using suicide attackers, a new threat that is proving hard to counter, reports the AP.

I.L.