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AFGHANISTAN - May 20 - Suicide Blast Kills 10 In Afghanistan.

At least 10 people are killed and 32 wounded when a suicide attacker on foot blows himself up in a crowded market in the south-eastern province of Paktia, the provincial police chief said. News agencies, quoting doctors at the local hospital, said the death toll later rose to 14. The attack happened in the town of Gardez, on the main road through the province. It came just a day after another suicide blast killed nine people, among them three German soldiers in the northern province of Kunduz. The victims of the blast Sunday were shopkeepers and laborers who were waiting to be hired for daily work, the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman Sarjang, said, adding that they were deliberately targeted. "A school boy on his way to school is among those killed and a woman who was begging in the market was among the wounded", he said. News agencies reported that an American military convoy was passing through the town at the time of the blast but there were no reported casualties among the military. Violence has increased in recent weeks in southern and southeastern provinces. Taliban insurgents have been losing their fighters and have suffered defeat on the battlefield, and suicide attacks and roadside bombs are the only tactics remaining for them, provincial officials in Paktia said. Sarjang said 67 Taliban insurgents had been killed in a joint operation by the US-led coalition and Afghan security forces in Patan district of Paktia province on Saturday and that the suicide blast was in revenge for the blow suffered by the Taliban insurgents. The NATO force in Afghanistan said in a statement May 20 that a significant number of Taliban extremist leaders were successfully targeted and killed in a precision airstrike last night in southern Afghanistan. The statement did not clarify the exact place of the airstrike and the number of insurgents they said was killed. "Combined with the recent demise of Mullah Dadullah, this strike will, in the short term, push the enemy into confusion and disarray", said Major John Thomas, a NATO force spokesman. Mullah Dadullah was a prominent commander in chief in southern Afghanistan who was killed a week and a half ago; the Taliban has vowed to avenge his death.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:May 26, 2007
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