updated 7/4/2006 4:53:49 AM ET 2006-07-04T08:53:49

Suspected Taliban militants shot and killed five Afghan laborers bringing construction supplies to a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan, police said Tuesday.

A sixth worker was wounded in the ambush Monday in Kunar Province, said Abdul Jalal Jalal, the provincial police chief. The driver of the truck carrying the workers escaped unharmed.

In the capital, Kabul, a bomb exploded in front of a cinema, wounding at least four people, police said.

Jalal said he suspected Taliban militants were behind the attack in Kunar Province and that the laborers were targeted because they worked at an American base.

Resurgent Taliban attacks have raised concerns about Afghanistan’s shaky stability.

The United States said Monday it was giving Afghanistan $2 billion worth of military weapons and vehicles to modernize the country’s fledgling national army. The equipment will include 2,500 Humvees, tens of thousands of M-16 assault rifles, flak jackets and construction of a national military command center.

Since May, more than 600 Afghans, mostly militants, have been reported killed in fighting, according to an Associated Press tally based on U.S.-led coalition and Afghan figures.

Late Monday, a suicide attacker walked up to a checkpoint in southern Kandahar city and blew himself up, killing a policeman and injuring six other people. The blast sent body parts flying all over the pavement, according to an AP reporter on the scene.

The upsurge in rebel violence has prompted a tough response, with more than 10,000 Afghan and coalition troops deployed in a massive military campaign in the volatile south, billed as the largest since the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.

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