Asia PacificTerrorism

Three Policemen Killed in Bomb Attack in Afghanistan

Three policemen were killed and five were wounded on Wednesday when a bomb was detonated next to a security convoy tasked with clearing illegal poppy crops in northeastern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said.

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-K), a branch of the Islamic State group active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The improvised explosive device (IED) was attached to a motorcycle that targeted a convoy of police vehicles in Faizabad, the capital of mountainous Badakhshan province, around 11 am (0630 GMT).

“The bomb exploded while the convoy of police forces was on its way to destroy poppy cultivation,” Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani posted on X, formerly Twitter.

IS-K said in the evening it had targeted the Taliban with a “motorcycle bomb.”

The explosion comes days after Taliban security officials and residents clashed over the violent clearance of poppy crops in two Badakhshan districts, leaving two dead and sparking rare protests.

Afghanistan was the largest producer of opium before poppy cultivation was banned in a decree by the Taliban supreme leader in April 2022.

Farmers have been encouraged to plant different crops, but none compete with the financial draw of the poppy, leading some to continue to discreetly cultivate small plots.

An AFP journalist saw Taliban authorities searching homes and detaining dozens of people near the scene.

Images posted on social media but not immediately verified by AFP showed a charred motorcycle and a police truck riddled with holes.

Eyewitness Aminullah, who did not want to give his full name, said he heard a huge explosion and saw that a convoy of Taliban authorities had been hit.

“Immediately the security forces cleared the area of people,” he told AFP.

The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has fallen since the Taliban ended their insurgency after ousting the US-backed government and returning to power in August 2021.

However, a number of armed groups, including the Islamic State group, remain a threat, with regular reports of explosions that go unconfirmed by authorities.

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