Afghan police officers stand guard at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan February 6, 2021. REUTERS
A chain of bomb explosions targeting Kabul police on Wednesday killed a district police chief and his bodyguard, and also wounded five people, officials said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, which were all caused by so-called sticky bombs, explosive devices attached to vehicles that are remotely detonated or set off by timers.
The largest of the attacks struck a police car in a western Kabul neighborhood; the force of the blast was so strong that the car flipped upside down, killing the city's District 5 police chief, Mohammadzai Kochi, and his bodyguard. The driver of the car was wounded, according to two Afghan officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said an hour before that blast, two other sticky bomb explosions took place. One of them, about 500 meters (yards) away from where the police car was targeted, wounded four civilians. There were no casualties in the other blast, which took place elsewhere in Kabul.
Afghanistan has seen a nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings, and violence on the battlefield as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government have stalled.
The Islamic State group's local affiliate has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but many go unclaimed, with the government putting the blame on the Taliban. The insurgents have denied responsibility for most of the attacks.
In eastern Ghazni province, the provincial governor's spokesman, Wahidullah Jumazada, said an airstrike called in during fighting with the Taliban killed at least 22 insurgents, including foreign fighters in the group.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid immediately tweeted a denial, saying Afghan government forces were defeated in the fighting in Ghazni. He also claimed the Taliban have no foreign fighters in their ranks.