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Suicide Bomber Kills 17 at Afghan Bathhouse

Suicide Bomber Kills 17 at Afghan Bathhouse

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a bathhouse in southern Afghanistan that killed at least 17 people and wounded around 23 others.

Sources say Friday's attack, which took place in Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, targeted a high-ranking border police commander who died in the blast. Spin Boldak is located on the border with Pakistan and about 110 kilometers east of the provincial capital, Kandahar city.

The bathhouse was crowded with people preparing to attend Friday prayers when the explosives went off.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. Embassy and NATO condemned the attack. Mr. Karzai called it "brutal" and "un-Islamic."

The Associated Press reports that shortly after the Spin Boldak attack, gunmen shot and killed a police inspector in the city of Kandahar.

Also Friday, NATO forces say three coalition soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan. NATO did not disclose the identities of the soldiers or the exact locations of the attacks.

On Thursday, the United States announced it has ordered an additional 1,400 Marines to deploy to Afghanistan to put further pressure on the Taliban during the current winter campaign.

U.S. officials quoted byThe Wall Street Journal newspaper said most of the troops will be sent to the south, the site of heavy fighting against the Taliban in recent months.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last month that the United States is still on course to start withdrawing some U.S. troops in July, and handing over security to the Afghan government by 2014. There are currently 97,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, along with some 45,000 troops from other countries.