Suicide bombers attack Afghan police compound

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) - At least three suicide bombers attacked a police training center Monday in southern Afghanistan's largest city, but the assailants were killed before they could inflict any other casualties, officials said.

The midday attack started with a blast that could be heard throughout much of Kandahar city. One of the three attackers managed to blow through a defense wall as he detonated his explosives, said Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzai, head of police training programs for Afghanistan.

The two remaining bombers were shot dead when they engaged police in a gunbattle while trying to enter the compound, he said.

There were no casualties among police trainers or officers inside the compound, Ahmadzai said. NATO and Afghan forces swarmed the training center, but it appeared to be secure about an hour after the explosion. No more gunshots could be heard. A spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province gave a slightly different account.

Zulmai Ayubi said that the first blast came from a car bomb driven into the wall by one of the assailants. An officer reached inside the compound during the fighting said there were four attackers, two of whom had managed to detonate their explosives.

He spoke anonymously because he was not an authorized spokesman. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they sent four bombers.

The Taliban have struck the city recently with a slew of bombings and assassinations of people seen as government allies - in a counteroffensive to a NATO push into their southern strongholds. NATO has pledged to make the coming offensive a combination of military strikes and government-boosting programs it hopes will win over the population.

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