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Suicide Bomber Kills 17 in Southern Afghanistan


Afghan officials say a bomber blew himself up in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, killing 17 civilians, including 12 children.

Officials say 30 other people were wounded in the blast. They add the bomber appeared to target NATO troops who were on patrol in the bazaar, in Dihrawud, in Uruzgan province.

A spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force said seven NATO troops were wounded. The Dutch Defense Ministry said Dutch soldiers were among the injured, and one is in critical condition.

A purported Taleban spokesman said Taleban militants were responsible for the blast.

In a statement today, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, said the attacker's disregard for innocent lives is staggering.

Earlier in the day, officials with the U.S. led-coalition in Afghanistan said a coalition soldier died of wounds late Monday following a shooting at an army base in the western city of Herat. The military said four Afghans also were killed in that incident.

A local government spokeswoman, Farzana Ahmadi, said authorities arrested another Afghan soldier for the shooting.

The spokeswoman said the attacker may have had links to the Taleban. However, the Afghan Defense Ministry said the shooting was the result of an argument.

At least 10 other soldiers were wounded in the shooting.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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