KABUL, Afghanistan - In what has become a near-daily drumbeat of insurgent attacks on Afghan government and security installations, a team of gunmen and suicide bombers yesterday stormed a police outpost in an eastern city, killing six people, most of them Afghan police and soldiers.
The four assailants died as well, officials said.
The early-morning onslaught in the city of Khowst typified a pattern of insurgent strikes that has taken hold as the spring "fighting season" gathers force - a coordinated assault on a site that somehow symbolizes the authority of the central government. And in what has become an increasingly common tactic, the attackers wore Afghan police uniforms to confuse the defenders and gain initial entry.
Guerrilla-style attacks like this one are increasingly favored by the Taliban and other insurgents, who are reluctant to engage in direct military confrontations with troops far more numerous or Western.
U.S. and other NATO commanders say they believe they have blunted the momentum of the insurgency, but blazing urban gun battles like this one generally leave local people feeling rattled and insecure - thus achieving a key aim of the militants, whatever the outcome.
In yesterday's attack, the target was a relatively humble one: a compound belonging to traffic police. A day earlier, in a much higher-profile strike, a suicide bomber in the capital, Kabul, hit the country's largest military hospital, killing six medical trainees.
Khowst, which lies not far from the border with Pakistan, is a frequent attack site, despite the presence of a large North Atlantic Treaty Organization base on the city's outskirts. Several insurgent groups are active in the area, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan.