KUNDUZ, Afghanistan - Dec 20, 20100 (AFP) - – Militants were occupying an army recruitment centre in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, in one of two attacks against Afghan military personnel that killed 13 people.
The building in Kunduz was being held by two rebels who survived an attack on the centre that had been carried out by four militants armed with suicide vests and automatic rifles, an official said.
The attackers killed four Afghan soldiers and four police officers in a gunfight before two of them were killed, deputy provincial governor Hamidullah Danishi told AFP. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
"Two of the attackers were shot dead by our security forces and two others are still in the building and are resisting from there," Danishi said, referring to the military facility attacked by the insurgents.
An Afghan soldier, apparently dead, is carried away by his colleagues during a gunbattle in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010. Teams of Taliban militants assaulted the Afghan army in the north of the country and in the capital, killing at least 10 members of the security forces, officials said.
He said the rebels had access to some military ammunition in the building, but refused to give details.
"They have taken control of a part of the building and from there they are resisting our security forces," Danishi said.
An AFP reporter on the site said hundreds of Afghan security forces and US and German troops, based in Kunduz as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, had sealed off the area.
Military helicopters were hovering overhead, the AFP reporter said.
In the capital, Kabul, two suicide bombers targeted an army bus, killing five military personal, defence ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi told AFP separately.
Nine other people were injured in the Kabul bombing, he said.
The vehicle was on its daily run, driving staff from the Kabul military training centre to work, when two suicide attackers armed with automatic rifles opened fire, Azimi said.
"One of the suicide attackers was shot dead but the second managed to detonate his explosives strapped to his body, and martyred five of our personnel and wounded another nine," he said.
The incident took place on Pul-e-charkhi road, which links the capital Kabul to Afghanistan's eastern provinces and runs on to the Pakistani border.
Azimi also confirmed the attack in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province, one of the most volatile areas in the relatively peaceful north of Afghanistan.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Muhahid, claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Meanwhile, one civilian was killed Sunday morning and four children were wounded when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Panjwayi district, in the troubled province of Kandahar.
"The driver of the civilian vehicle was killed and four children were wounded," Baran Khaksar, the district chief, told AFP.
Improvised bombs are the weapons of choice for the Taliban insurgents who have been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency against the Western-backed government and its allies since they were ousted from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion.
The south and east of the war-torn country suffer the brunt of the violence.
Last week NATO said it would battle hard through the bitter Afghan winter, which usually signals a lull in fighting, keeping up pressure on the insurgency until spring.
US military leaders back the government's plan for the Afghan police and army to assume responsibility for security by 2014, with the timetable agreed at a major NATO summit in Lisbon last month.