Suicide bomb at Afghan funeral for Taliban victims kills 16

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber struck a funeral in Afghanistan for the victims of an earlier Taliban attack, killing 16 people and wounding 39, an Afghan official said.

The attack took place in eastern Laghman province, according to the local governor's spokesman, Sarhadi Zwak. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing but the blame is likely to fall on the Taliban who have staged similar attacks in the past.

Also, the bombing came on the heels of a spate of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan overnight and on Thursday morning that killed at least 17 people.

The insurgents have been increasingly targeting local police and Afghan forces, inflicting heavy civilian casualties as well, after most foreign combat troops withdrew from the country at the end of last month.

The bomber at the funeral in Mihtarlam mingled with the mourners gathered for the funeral for a police commander and three other people killed earlier in the day in a roadside bombing, then blew himself up. The roadside bombing also took place in Mihtarlam and officials said the Taliban were behind that attack.

Zwak, the provincial spokesman, said police investigations chief Khlil Nyazi was among the 16 killed at the funeral, along with three other police officers. Three policemen were also among the 39 wounded.

Late Wednesday, Taliban insurgents in the central Ghazni province attacked a checkpoint in Andar district, killing 11 members of a pro-government militia that was manning the post and wounding six.

As the militia fought back, six insurgents were killed and seven were wounded, according to Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor in Ghazni.

The province's deputy police chief, Asadullha Ensafi, said the insurgents had inside information from one of their own who had managed to infiltrate the volunteer militia last year.

In a message, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on the checkpoint.

Also Thursday, in the district of Sayed Abad in Wardak province east of the capital, Kabul, Taliban fighters dragged two villagers from their home and killed them, according to spokesman Attaullha Khugyani.

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