Suicide attack targeting NATO kills 17 Afghans in eastern town
By Khan Mohammad, AFPGARDEZ, Afghanistan--A suicide bomber on a motorbike struck a joint Afghan-NATO patrol in the town of Khost on Wednesday, killing 17 Afghans and causing coalition casualties, officials said.
June 21, 2012, 12:39 am TWN
The blast in the eastern town close to the border with Pakistan, where Taliban and other Islamist insurgents fighting US-led troops have strongholds, also wounded 37 people, hospital officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the government blamed “enemies of Afghanistan”, a phrase commonly used by officials to refer to the Taliban.
The Taliban, leading a 10-year insurgency against President Hamid Karzai's western-backed government, have begun the annual fighting season with a series of attacks which saw US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admit that violence was rising.
Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Wednesday's blast targeted a combined Afghan and coalition patrol passing through Khost, one of the most troubled parts of Afghanistan.