KABUL, Afghanistan - A suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up inside a heavily guarded compound Saturday as top Afghan and international officials left a meeting, killing two senior Afghan police commanders and wounding the German general who commands coalition troops in northern Afghanistan.
Two German soldiers and two other Afghans were killed in the blast, the latest in an insurgent spring offensive. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred about a month before a drawdown of U.S. troops is to begin.
The bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest inside the governor's complex in Takhar province, where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting with members of the international coalition, said Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, a spokesman for the governor.
"What we know is the guy who carried out the attack had a police uniform on," Tawhedi said. "How he entered the meeting room and why he was not searched, we don't know."
Among the dead was Gen. Daud Daud, regional police commander in northern Afghanistan, according to the provincial health director, Hassain Basech.
Daud was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an al-Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the 9/11 attacks that provoked the U.S. invasion.
Also killed were provincial police chief Shah Jahan Noori, a secretary to the governor, and one of Daud's bodyguards, the health director said.
Gen. Markus Kneip, the NATO force's commander for northern Afghanistan, was among the wounded, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in Berlin. Earlier this year, Kneip took over NATO's northern regional command, which covers nine provinces on Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
He also serves as the senior national commander of the 4,900 German troops deployed in the north, a region that had been relatively calm but where there has seen a rise in violence in the last two years.
Two German troops were killed and two others were wounded in the blast, de Maiziere said. Fifty-one German troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of the war.