A suicide bomber in a vehicle attacked a convoy carrying Afghan doctors working for the United Nations in southern Afghanistan today, killing two doctors and their driver and wounding 15 other people, officials said.
The attack happened in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province as the convoy was on its way to vaccinate people against polio, said provincial police Chief Matiullah Khan.
The two doctors were under contract with the UN World Health Organisation in combating polio in Afghanistan, said Adrian Edwards, the chief UN spokesman in the country. The driver also worked for the UN mission. All three were Afghan nationals, Edwards said.
The blast also wounded 15 other people, including 10 civilians and five Afghan guards protecting the convoy, Khan said. The bomber also died in the blast.
Khan says the doctors were travelling in clearly marked UN vehicles.
Edwards said the UN was trying to “determine if this was an explicit attack on the UN or if we were a target of opportunity.
“This attack was on innocent civilians working only for the people of Afghanistan, and is beyond comprehension,” Kai Eide, the top UN official in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Taliban militants are known to operate in the area and regularly use suicide bombings in their campaign against Afghan and foreign troops in the country.
Elsewhere, Taliban militants ambushed a police patrol in central Afghanistan, killing at least seven officers, while US-led coalition troops killed several militants in the east, officials said today.
Authorities recovered the bodies of seven officers after yesterday’s ambush in the central Ghazni province, and another officer was missing, said Mohammad Sharif Kohistani, a provincial police official.
Lightly armed police officers often bear the brunt of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Over 900 officers were killed by insurgents in 2007.
Separately, several militants were killed and two were detained during a raid by US and Afghan forces in the eastern Khost province yesterday, the US-led coalition said in a statement.
The troops were targeting militants associated with Siraj Haqqani, the son of long-time warlord Jalalludin Haqqani.
The US has called Siraj Haqqani a ruthless new brand of militant leader and last year announced a $200,000 (€141,000) reward for his capture.
Haqqani, a Taliban-associated militant with close ties to al-Qaida, is accused of masterminding beheadings and massive bombings. He is believed to be in Pakistan.