Qaeda aims to 'bring down Pakistan: Biden

KUNDUZ (AFP) - Troops shot dead rebels at an army recruitment centre in northern Afghanistan Sunday to end a day-long siege following two attacks by militants that killed at least 13 security personnel. The gunbattle between insurgents and security forces in Kunduz erupted after four militants armed with guns and suicide vests attacked the centre early Sunday, killing eight security personnel, officials said. Two of the attackers were killed by security forces as the other pair occupied the facility throughout the day, officials said. The fighting is over, Zemarai Bashary, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP in the capital, Kabul. He said the remaining two rebels had been gunned down by Afghan security forces, without giving further details. Witnesses told AFP that the militants had exchanged fire with hundreds of Afghan and NATO-led US and German troops until dark. Four police officers and four soldiers were killed in the first hours of the attack, according to Afghan officials. An AFP reporter on the site said hundreds of Afghan security forces and US and German troops, based in Kunduz as part of NATOs International Security Assistance Force, had sealed off the area, as helicopters hovered overhead. 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 Afghanistans 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. Meanwhile, a Canadian soldier on a foot patrol was killed in a roadside bomb blast in a volatile district of southern Afghanistan, the defense department said Sunday. Corporal Steve Martin was killed on Saturday after an improvised explosive device was detonated in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province. Martin was serving with the Royal 22nd Regiment based in Valcartier, Quebec. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to the soldiers family. On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this difficult time, the prime minister said on Sunday in a statement. Corporal Martin was a brave Canadian who made the ultimate sacrifice while proudly serving his country. We will never forget Corporal Martins bravery and his sacrifice to make life better for others.

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