By Alexandra Zavis and Hashmat Baktash
12:13 PM EST, January 27, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two police officers including a district commander died in a bombing Sunday near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, part of a rash of attacks that killed at least 21 officers in 24 hours, Afghan officials said.
The officers were patrolling in the Qala-e-Kah district of Farah province at about 8 a.m. when their vehicle struck a landmine, said Aqqa Mohammad Kemtoz, the provincial police chief.
It was the latest in a series of bombings targeting the Afghan security forces, which have been assuming increasing responsibility for safeguarding the country ahead of the departure of most foreign troops next year.
Late Saturday, an explosive device planted in a road on the outskirts of Kandahar, the southern city that the Taliban regard as their spiritual home, killed eight police officers and three detainees, officials said.
The officers had already disabled another bomb -- and detained three suspects -- less than 100 yards away, Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Raziq said.
When police left their vehicles to investigate reports of a second device, that bomb detonated, said Raziq, who himself survived a massive bombing in August. Six officers were injured in the blast, he said.
Such attacks have hurt retention in the Afghan police and army, particularly in areas that are largely under the control of the Taliban. The militants frequently send “night letters” threatening to kill Afghans who work for the government or foreign forces.
Earlier Saturday, 10 police officers were killed and five wounded in a suicide bombing in the northern city of Kunduz. Among the dead were the police counterterrorism chief and the head of the traffic police for the northern province by the same name.
Another officer died when a bicycle bomb exploded near a police checkpoint in the eastern city of Ghazni.
There were conflicting reports about whether a suicide bomber detonated the device or the explosives were set off remotely.ALSO:
Baktash is a special correspondent.