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Kabul's Police Chief Steps Down Amid Stepped-Up Taliban Attacks

Afghan security forces inspect the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday — one of several in recent days that appears to signal a major upsurge in Taliban violence in the city.
Rahmat Gul

Kabul's police chief is stepping down after a series of deadly militant attacks on foreigners that have shaken the capital in recent days.

In a news briefing today, Gen. Zahir Zahir said that four people had died in an attack on a compound of Partnership in Academics and Development on Saturday that was blamed on the Taliban. He said the director, his teenage son and daughter — all South African nationals — were killed when one of the attackers blew himself up. Reuters says the family had lived in Afghanistan for the past 12 years. An Afghan was also killed in the attack.

At the end of the briefing, Zahir announced he would step down as police chief in the capital. He did not elaborate and a police spokesman has also declined to comment on Zahir's resignation.

On Friday in a similar attack claimed by the Taliban no one was hurt, but earlier in the day a suicide bombing of a British vehicle killed 5.

Two American soldiers and two British embassy workers have also been killed in attacks in recent days. The BBC notes: "Gen Zahir was himself the target of an attack in early November, when a suicide bomber infiltrated his offices — supposed to be one of the most secure buildings in Kabul — and killed his deputy. Gen Zahir was not there at the time of the attack."

The BBC also says:

"This week, Taliban militants also attacked the camp formerly known as Camp Bastion in Helmand province, one month after it was vacated by British forces.

"The militants launched an attack late on Thursday night and fighting continued into Friday and on Saturday."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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