Oct 1, 2012 / 6:14 am
A suicide bomber driving a motorcycle packed with explosives rammed his bike into a patrol of Afghan and international forces on Monday morning in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 people, including three NATO service members and their translator, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the U.S. death toll in the war in Afghanistan reached 2,000 troops and as relations between international forces and their Afghan partners have been pushed to the breaking point by a surge in insider attacks by Afghan allies.
The bomber struck a group of Afghan police and international troops shortly after they got out of their vehicles to walk through a market area in Khost city, the capital of Khost province, said provincial government spokesman Baryalai Wakman.
Six civilians and four police officers were killed in the blast, Wakman said. The police officers were part of a specialized quick-reaction force.
"I heard the explosion and came right to this area. I saw the dead bodies of policemen and of civilians right here," said policeman Hashmat Khan, who ran to the site of the blast from his job as security for a nearby bank.
Coalition spokesman Maj. Adam Wojack would only confirm that three NATO service members and their translator died in a bombing in the east on Monday, without giving an exact location or the nationalities of the dead.
Dozens of Afghan civilians were also wounded in the bombing. The city's hospital alone was treating about 30 people injured in the explosion, said Dr. Amir Pacha, a physician working there. He added there could be other victims being treated at nearby private clinics.
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