Bombs targeting Afghan intelligence service kill 6

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Kabul, Jan 12 (AP) The Taliban took aim atAfghanistan''s intelligence services today, killing six peopleand wounding more than 30 in two separate attacks, including asuicide bombing on a bus in the capital, officials said.

The attacks follow a surprise visit to Kabul a dayearlier by US Vice President Joe Biden, who praised advancesmade against the insurgency while noting that the gains were"fragile and reversible." Biden left Afghanistan forneighboring Pakistan this morning.

In Kabul, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himselfup next to a minibus carrying intelligence service employeesto work, killing four people, President Hamid Karzai''s officesaid. The Interior Ministry said the blast wounded 32 people,including six intelligence service members _ although it spokeof only two people killed _ one intelligence service memberand a civilian. The reason for the discrepancy was notimmediately clear.

About an hour later in the troubled eastern provinceof Kunar, a remote-controlled roadside bomb killed anintelligence service colonel and his driver, and wounded twobodyguards, said Abdul Saboor Allahyar, deputy chief ofKunar''s provincial police.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Insurgents often target Afghan security officials,although over the past few months the nation''s capital hasbeen largely spared the worst of the major attacks in thecountry.

The powerful blast in Kabul struck on a busy roadduring the morning rush-hour, shattering the windows of dozensof houses. The suicide bomber''s body lay in the street nearthe wreckage of his motorbike as police and intelligenceofficials cordoned off the area.

Karzai condemned the bombing, calling it "an actagainst humanity and against Islam."

NATO also condemned the attack, saying it had killedat least one intelligence service member and one civilian, andwounded at least 32 people.

The Taliban has proven resilient in the face of theUS-led military coalition''s nearly decade-long war. AlthoughNATO poured more than 30,000 extra troops into the countrylast year to pressure the insurgents'' traditional strongholdsin the south, the Taliban have boosted their operationselsewhere, launching attacks across the north and east.

An extra contingent of 1,400 US Marines are to bedeployed in the coming months in the southern province ofHelmand, which along with neighboring Kandahar have seen someof the fiercest fighting. (AP)

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