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Feb 20, 5:58 AM EST

Bomb kills 3 tribal elders at hotel in eastern Afghanistan; separate attacks by insurgents kill 9 policemen


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Bomb kills 3 tribal elders at hotel in eastern Afghanistan; separate attacks by insurgents kill 9 policemen

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A bomb went off in a hotel room in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday, killing three tribal elders, while Afghan officials reported that at least nine policemen were killed in latest attacks by insurgents.

The spokesman in Nangarhar, Attaullah Khogyani, said the bomb went off around noon as tribal elders gathered in the hotel room in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, to discuss village problems.

Khogyani said three other elders were wounded in the blast and that another bomb was discovered and defused by police forces near the hotel.

There were no further details and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Both the Taliban and Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate are active in Nangarhar.

Meanwhile, in western Farah province, attacks on police checkpoints killed eight policemen. Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the Farah governor, said two police checkpoints came under attack overnight, one in Bala Buluk district and one near Farah city.

Mehri added that 13 insurgents were also killed in the fighting, which started on Monday night and lasted till early Tuesday morning.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks in Farah. In statement sent to the media, he claimed the Taliban captured 10 policemen as hostages.

The abductions were not confirmed by provincial authorities.

Also Tuesday, two gunmen opened fire at the police, killing one officer in eastern Kapisa province. Provincial spokesman Qais Qaderi said both gunmen were killed and five suspects were arrested by police forces in Mohmood Raqi, the provincial capital.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Kapisa, but the Taliban have stepped up attacks on security forces across Afghanistan.

Nearly a month ago, the Islamic States group claimed responsibility for a coordinated attack on Save the Children organization in the city of Jalalabad in which four people were killed and a shootout with police lasted almost 10 hours.

Among the four killed were two staffers of the NGO, a security guard who also worked for Save the Children and an Afghan army soldier, according to provincial officials.

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