December 16th, 2007 04:42 EST
Afghanistan, Bombings, unrest kill 14
KABUL (AFP) - Two bombs struck the Afghan capital Saturday, one of them killing five civilians, while nine people died in new attacks in a Taliban insurgency that is in its bloodiest year so far, officials said.
A car-bomb placed outside Kabul police headquarters tore through a busy area of the city, killing at least four civilian bystanders, officials and a witness said.
The second bomb was remote-controlled and detonated near the city's main jail, causing only minor damage to a military vehicle, the defence ministry said.
The extremist Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the car-bomb, saying it was aimed at the city police who share a compound with the governor's office and courts.
"Five civilians have been killed and two police have been wounded. Some civilians have been wounded too," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP.
The government ambulance service said however one of two dead bodies it evacuated was that of a policeman. Seven wounded people were also evacuated, said the regional coordinator of the Kabul Ambulance Service, Badrt-Rija Badar.
The interior ministry said the bombing was "unprecedented" and appeared to be a new "terrorist tactic."
Afghanistan has been gripped by a wave of violence that has grown in the past two years and is largely attributed to the Taliban, who were in government between 1996 and 2001.
"Using such tactics, the enemies wanted to inflict maximum casualty," the interior ministry said in a statement. "Fortunately they failed because there were not lots of people around at the time."
Kabul has suffered a rash of attacks in recent weeks. The last was on December 5 when a Taliban suicide attacker slammed a bomb-filled car into an Afghan army bus in the city, killing four children and nine adults.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, confirmed his group had carried out the car bombing, which he said was aimed at the Kabul police headquarters.
He said it was not a suicide attack -- a favoured Taliban tactic of which there have been more than 140 this year, the worst killing nearly 80 people in November.
In other violence, police in eastern Paktia province said a policeman and four Taliban were killed Friday after the Islamic rebels ambushed a police vehicle escorting a fuel tanker supplying the NATO-led military force.
Three other Taliban were killed Friday when a bomb they were trying to plant exploded in neighbouring Paktika province, local official Ghamai Khan told AFP.
Separately, armed assailants pulled three Afghan soldiers out of a vehicle in the northern province of Balkh early Saturday and shot them, killing one, said district police commander Mohammad Asif.
The Taliban, blamed for most of the insurgency violence in Afghanistan, have focused most of their attacks in the south and east of the country but the unrest has made inroads into the north and west this year.
In what officials said was a blow to the insurgents, troops reclaimed nearly a week ago the southern town of Musa Qala which was occupied by the Taliban for 10 months and had become an important base.
The Afghan army found caches of explosives, weapons and waistcoats to be used in suicide bombings during a clean-up of the town, the defence ministry said Saturday.
They also found communications equipment, two bomb-making factories and a stockpile of drugs, it said.
Musa Qala is in Helmand province, the main source of Afghanistan's world-leading production of opium, which is used to make heroin.
The drugs trade is said to finance the insurgency, which has peaked this year with around 6,000 people dead, most of them rebels killed in military operations.