- Associated Press - Sunday, July 11, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Militant attacks in once-calm northern Afghanistan have killed at least 11 police and a government official whose car was hit by a remote-controlled bomb, officials said Sunday.

Militants attacked a checkpoint overnight in Kunduz province near Tajikistan, killing at least six border police, provincial deputy police Chief Abdul Rahman Aqtash said.

“We have reports that it may be more than six dead,” Chief Aqtash said by telephone on his way to the site of the clash.

Also in Kunduz, militants remotely detonated a bomb as the chief of Qala Zal district was passing in his car, killing him and his bodyguard, the Ministry of Interior said.

Five other police died Saturday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in northeastern Badakshan province, the ministry said in a statement.

Northern Afghanistan was once relatively calm, but Taliban and other militants have become increasingly active in the past two years.

Two German soldiers were also wounded in Kunduz on Saturday when their convoy hit two roadside bombs within an hour. The same patrol also fought off a small-arms attack from insurgents in the same area.

Insurgents have been targeting police and other officials to undermine the Afghan government and sow fear. Establishing security and trust in local authorities is a key to the NATO counterinsurgency strategy to defeat the Taliban and eventually allow international troops to withdraw.