updated 2/26/2008 5:06:24 AM ET 2008-02-26T10:06:24

A roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying five policemen and a child in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing all six, officials said.

Taliban militants have increasingly aimed their attacks at police, killing more than 925 officers in 2007 alone. Afghan police often work in small groups in remote and dangerous territory, where they are outnumbered and outgunned by insurgents.

The blast happened in the eastern Khost province close to the border with Pakistan, said police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub. He blamed the attack on Taliban militants.

The victims included five policemen and a 3-year old child, said Lutfullah Babakarheil, a local government official. They were traveling in a private vehicle, he said.

Problems with police training
The lack of an effective training program for the police is often cited as one of the West's biggest failings in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime for harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida bases.

Police here are poorly paid, and many complain that superior officers skim from their paychecks or that they are not paid at all.

The United States began a new training program this year that will see small teams of American soldiers mentor and train police officers over the course of several months. The program, which also gives the police upgraded weapons and equipment, is expected to last four years.

Insurgent violence in Afghanistan flared last year, when a record 6,500 people — mostly militants — were killed, according to figures from Western and Afghan officials.

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