KABUL, Afghanistan >> A homemade bomb killed a member of the U.S.-led NATO coalition in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, hours after the Taliban attacked a hilltop police post in the north, killing eight Afghan policemen, officials said.
The NATO death raised the number of coalition troops who have been killed in Afghanistan this year to 173. The coalition did not provide any further details about Wednesday’s attack.
The policemen who were attacked by the Taliban on Tuesday evening in Badakhsan province’s Warduj district waged a three-hour battle to retake their post, killing six militants in the process, said the provincial governor’s spokesman, Abdul Maruf Rasikh. Two policemen and 11 militants were wounded, he said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to reporters by the group’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.
Badakhshan province is relatively peaceful but has experienced periodic attacks. Two foreign doctors and their three Afghan colleagues were kidnapped last week in Badakhshan.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, three district government employees were killed by a roadside bomb as they were traveling to work Wednesday morning in eastern Nangarhar province’s Deh Bala district, said district chief Asrarullah.
On Tuesday, the U.S.-led NATO force announced it had killed al-Qaida’s second-highest leader in the country in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province.
Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks against NATO and Afghan forces, the alliance said. He frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaida leadership and ferrying in weapons and fighters.
The airstrike that killed al-Taifi and another al-Qaida militant took place Sunday in Kunar’s Watahpur district, the coalition said. A follow-on assessment of the area determined that no civilians were harmed, it said.
Al-Taifi is not a widely-known figure. His name does not appear on the U.N. blacklist of al-Qaida terrorists, which has several hundred names.
The coalition declined to reveal the name of al-Qaida’s top leader in Afghanistan “due to ongoing operations and security concerns.”
Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez contributed to this report.