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Suicide Attacker Strikes Afghan Army Recruiting Office

Afghan policemen and security personnel pick up a dead body after a suicide attack at an army recruitment center in Kunduz, March 14, 2011.

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has attacked an army recruiting office in the country's north, killing at least 36 people.

Authorities say at least 42 others were wounded in Monday's attack in the city of Kunduz. Victims include soldiers, civilians and volunteers who wanted to join the army. Officials say children were also among those killed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.

Monday's attack was the second on the center in the last year. Eight security personnel were killed when militants stormed the recruiting compound in December.

Violence has increased in Kunduz province. Last week, the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman Sayedkhili, was killed in a suicide blast while on patrol in Kunduz city.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned Monday's attack on army center "in the strongest terms." He said militants do not want to see an Afghan force "develop and grow capable of protecting its nation."

NATO and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul also condemned the attack and offered condolences. In a statement, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "enemies of Afghanistan are threatened" by a strong Afghan army and have therefore struck those working to secure the country's future.

U.S. and NATO forces are training and building up Afghan forces in order to begin transferring security responsibility in the coming months. Most coalition combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Also Monday, Afghan officials say a roadside bomb killed three people in the southern province of Zabul.

A separate bomb blast killed at least one person in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

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