Conflict & Justice

NATO troops among 16 killed in east Afghanistan suicide attack


Afghan policeman and civilians gather at a hospital morgue holding the bodies of suicide bombing victims in Khost on June 20, 2012.



At least 16 people, including three NATO-led International Security Assistance Force troops and an Afghan interpreter, have been killed in a suicide attack on a joint NATO-Afghan military convoy in the eastern Afghan province of Khost.

Afghan officials told the Associated Press that the bomber steered an explosives-laden motorcycle into the convoy in the city of Khost on Wednesday, killing three NATO service members, 17 Afghans and wounding 30. 

An Afghan shop-owner whose business lies close to the blast site told The New York Times:  “I was busy in my shop when I heard a deafening explosion and then a wave of heat, flying sand and dust hit me in the face.  I rushed to the bombing site and saw many dead bodies, including foreign and Afghan soldiers.”

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb near Puli Alam, capital of Afghanistan's southern Logar province, has killed at least six civilians, including women and children, officials say. Provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwesh told the BBC that a tractor towing a wagon packed people was hit by the explosives.

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Wednesday's attack comes three weeks after militants from the Taliban-linked Haqqani insurgent group, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and explosives strapped to their chests, killed a US soldier, a US contractor and an Afghan civilian in an attack on a US base in Khost, Reuters reported.

Last month a suicide bomber killed 13 people at a roadside checkpoint near the Pakistan border in Khost's Alisher district, where Afghans had gathered to eat lunch.

According to the Agence France Presse, today's attacks will raise concerns over Afghanistan's future security, as international forces get ready to hand over responsibility to Afghan forces and pull most of the 130,000 combat troops in the country out by the end of 2014.

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