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Afghanistan Suicide Bombing Targets US Military Convoy

U.S. officials and local police in eastern Afghanistan say a suicide bomber has killed at least 11 people and wounded 74 others in an attack aimed at a U.S. military convoy. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Kabul.

Local police in the Bati Kot District of Nangarhar province said the blast occurred after dawn when a bomber driving a small passenger car targeted a nearby coalition convoy.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zamary Bashary said many people had gathered in the area for a weekly livestock market.

"Prior to reaching the convoy he detonated himself and since there was a bazaar there, children were going to school - so unfortunately children were included in those injured," Bashary said.

Awal Jan was unloading cows from his truck when the bomb detonated. He said many people ran, but there were scores of others on the ground.

He said most of those who were wounded or killed were the people who came to buy the animals. He said they were hit by the shrapnel.

The military said one soldier was among those killed.

Local doctors said the wounded have been transported to two nearby hospitals. They said some of the wounded people are in critical condition.

The attack occurred about 25 kilometers from Jalalabad, a major city where U.S. bases provide support for missions in eastern Afghanistan. The region has experienced a surge in violence in 2008, contributing to the highest annual death toll for U.S. forces since the 2001 invasion.

The suicide blast is the second in as many days. On Wednesday, a suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives attacked a provincial government compound in Kandahar province. The blast flattened several nearby buildings, killing six people and wounding more than 40.