Blast Kills 9 in Afghan Market

Posted May 14th, 2012 at 7:50 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan officials say a bomb blast at a market in the country's north has killed nine people, including a local official.

Police say Monday's explosion struck a shop in the Ghormuch district of Faryab province. A council member was among those killed by the remote-controlled bomb.

It is unclear who was responsible for the attack, which came a day after a top peace negotiator was gunned down in the capital, Kabul. Arsala Rahmani was a senior member of Afghanistan's 70-member High Peace Council.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the assassination.

Afghan officials expect violence to increase as the insurgent group recently announced the start of its spring offensive.

Afghan forces are increasingly taking control of security, as international combat troops withdraw by a 2014 deadline.

On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the launch of the security transition's third of five phases.

Under the third phase, security control will be transferred from international to Afghan forces in all of Afghanistan's provincial capitals, and in all of Uruzgan, Kapisa and Parwan provinces.

President Karzai says after the phase is completed, 75 percent of the entire Afghan population will be under Afghan control.