Unrest kills 16 in Afghanistan

A suicide bomb rocked an Afghan town bordering Pakistan Saturday killing four people as clashes claimed the lives of another 12 in a fresh wave of insurgent violence, authorities said.

The suicide blast, detonated by a man on a bomb-filled motorbike, tore through a busy bus station in the southern town of Spin Boldak, police said.

"Including the suspect, five were killed and eight were wounded," said the Kandahar province border police chief, Jawad Ahmad.

The interior ministry said three people -- a man, a woman and a child -- were killed in a suicide attack. Eleven were wounded including five children, it said, adding the device had exploded before the bomber reached his target.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but militants allied to the extremist Taliban militia, which has carried out scores of suicide attacks, are active in southern Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan.

Also on Saturday, Taliban militants ambushed a private security company in the southwestern province of Nimroz, killing three armed guards and wounding one, provincial governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad said.

"The Afghan army and US-led coalition forces went to the area for their support and killed three Taliban and wounded five," he added.

There has been a recent spate of deadly insurgent attacks on convoys that ferry goods across the country, including to bases of the nearly 70,000 foreign troops deployed to help the Afghan government.

Afghan and US-led coalition forces killed two "opposition commanders" in the southern province of Kandahar on Friday, the interior ministry said in a statement that did not give details of the men.

Another four militants were killed in incidents in Farah province in the south and Paktika in the east, officials said.

Attacks and battles have surged in recent weeks as troops try to clamp down on insurgents ahead of August 20 elections and after the extremists vowed to step up their campaign.

There are fears the violence will disrupt the elections, an important test for international efforts to bring democracy to Afghanistan.

The Taliban were in government for five years until 2001 when they were toppled in a US-led invasion weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, blamed on the Al-Qaeda network which had bases in Afghanistan.

in Bulgaria. AP