KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Taliban (search) gunmen attacked a government office in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, killing the police chief and leaving the building in flames, officials said. Five people were reported killed in a string of violent incidents elsewhere.
Taliban spokesman Abdul Hakim Latifi said the militia opened fire on the government office in Miana Shien district, 60 miles from the southern city of Kandahar, at about 3 a.m.
"Police chief Rahmatullah was killed along with three of his men," Latifi said in a satellite telephone call to The Associated Press.
He said Taliban fighters set fire to the mayor's office and two pickup trucks. One Taliban fighter died in the shootout, Latifi said.
Khalid Pashtun, spokesman for the governor of Kandahar (search), confirmed that Rahmatullah was killed and the office gutted by fire. Like many Afghans, the police chief went by just one name.
"We have sent troops but we don't have any more information yet," he said.
In neighboring Helmand province, one suspected Taliban was killed and another injured late Monday when a bomb went off as they were setting it up in the bazaar in Girishk, police chief Haji Bil Jan said.
The injured man, identified as Mullah Jabar, was treated for serious injuries in a local clinic and was too weak to be interrogated, Jan said.
Meanwhile, a man described as an Arab killed himself with a grenade after security forces cornered him in Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province.
Officials halted their vehicles when they saw two men acting suspiciously on the side of the road, said Faizan, spokesman for Nangarhar's governor.
The pair fled from guards sent to investigate. The guards opened fire, wounding and capturing one.
"When they surrounded the other one, he held a grenade on his chest and pulled out the pin," Faizan said.
Villagers described the dead man as an Arab, but Faizan said authorities were not sure.
An election worker was killed when a mine exploded near her vehicle in Khogyani last week, one of six killed so far this year.
The United Nations, which is organizing presidential elections slated for Oct. 9, said gunmen ambushed a police patrol of voter registration sites in Ghazni province on Monday, killing two.
U.N. spokesman David Singh said it was unclear who carried out the attack on Monday afternoon.
Gov. Haji Asadullah Khalid confirmed the two deaths, but said the police were attacked after they had arrested two suspected Taliban and were not on patrol.
In neighboring Khost province, Afghan Gen. Khial Baz said a mine damaged his sports-utility vehicle as he departed his division headquarters in Khost city on Monday evening. No one was hurt.
Southern and eastern Afghanistan have endured a steady stream of attacks blamed on Taliban and al-Qaida militants, despite the presence of thousands of American and allied troops.