Suicide bomber kills 8 in southern Afghanistan

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Sep 17 (Reuters) A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a local government compound in southern Afghanistan today, killing four policemen and four civilians and wounding seven, the district chief said.

He said the attack took place in the Naadali district of Helmand province, which has seen some of the worst violence between the resurgent Taliban on one side and Afghan and foreign troops on the other. The compound houses both the local government and police headquarters.

''The suicide bomber entered the compound dressed in civilian clothes and blew himself up when he got close to the police,'' Naadali district chief Mahboob Khan told Reuters.

The suicide attack came after Taliban insurgents vowed to launch massive operations across the country during the holy month of Ramzan.

A Taliban spokesman said 15 to 20 policemen had been killed in the attack.

Elsewhere, a foot patrol by troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force came under attack on Friday in a mountainous area 40 km east of Kabul, an ISAF spokesman said.

Initial assessments indicated one insurgent had been killed, said spokesman Major Charles Anthony, but the force was investigating reports of civilian casualties.

Security officials in the northern province of Baghlan said today they had captured a local Taliban commander and 37 insurgents in two recent raids.

Afghan forces supported by foreign troops captured a local Taliban leader in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, the NATO-led force in Afghanistan said today.

Afghan forces also captured 17 ''individuals involved in terrorism and violent activities'' in Wardak province southwest of Kabul today, the Ministry of Defence said.

REUTERS SKB RK1930

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