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Afghan police officer embraces suicide bomber to save others

From Masoud Popalzai, CNN
March 11, 2013 -- Updated 0050 GMT (0850 HKT)
Afghanistan National Army soldiers remove a destroyed car at the site of a suicide attack next to the Defense Ministry in Kabul.
Afghanistan National Army soldiers remove a destroyed car at the site of a suicide attack next to the Defense Ministry in Kabul.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The suicide bomber attempts to enter a town, where coalition and Afghan forces are training
  • Police at a checkpoint recognize he is wearing an explosive vest
  • One officer embraces him to blunt the effects of the explosives
  • The bomber detonates his explosives, killing the officer and eight children

(CNN) -- A policeman sacrificed his life for the sake of others, embracing a suicide bomber in southeast Afghanistan on Saturday morning to dull the blast as it detonated, eyewitnesses said.

The bomb killed the officer, Murad Khan, and eight minors between the ages of 7 and 17.

It wounded two more people, said police spokesman Haji Yaqoob of Khost province.

The bomber attempted to enter a village where coalition forces were conducting training exercises with Afghan police, but officers at a checkpoint recognized his explosive vest and stopped him, police said.

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The training session had convened near the checkpoint, and Yaqoob believes it was the target.

In a separate incident Saturday, a suicide bomber on a bicycle detonated himself at a gate to the Afghan defense ministry in Kabul hours after newly appointed U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel landed in the Afghan capital. Hagel was not in the area at them time of the explosion.

The secretary is in Afghanistan to visit American troops and get the lay of the land in the restive country to better advise President Barack Obama.

Hagel emphasized that the United States is still at war in Afghanistan despite the current mission to transition into a role of "training, assistance and advice."

This is the latest suicide attack in the nation.

A car bomber drove up to a U.S. military base in Khost province in December, but did not make it past the gate. The vehicle's detonation killed three people -- a security guard and two truck drivers.

Coalition forces in Khost are moving from a combat role side by side with Afghan National Army troops to an advisory role.

CNN's Ben Brumfield wrote in Atlanta; Jennifer Z. Deaton contributed to this report

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