Suicide Bomber Kills 14 in Afghanistan

Posted October 1st, 2012 at 7:40 am (UTC-5)
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A suicide bomber has attacked a joint Afghan-NATO patrol in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 people.

NATO says the deaths Monday include three coalition service members and their interpreter. It did not identify the nationalities of those who died or provide further details on the attack.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Local officials say the bomber rammed a motorcycle into the coalition and Afghan patrol as they walked near a market in the city of Khost.

Afghan authorities say the attack also killed six civilians and four police officers and wounded more than 30 people. The police were part of a quick reaction force.

Meanwhile, NATO and Afghan officials are investigating a gunbattle Saturday that killed two Americans and three Afghan soldiers. The two sides have given conflicting accounts of that incident, which came days after U.S.-led coalition forces eased restrictions on joint operations with their Afghan allies.

NATO initially described the gunbattle as a suspected “insider attack,” in which Afghan security forces or insurgents disguised in Afghan or coalition uniforms open fire on NATO personnel. But the NATO coalition's deputy commander, Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw, later told a Sunday news conference that insurgent fire may have played a role in the fighting.

NATO also said the gunbattle began after a “short conversation” between Afghan security forces and coalition troops who were manning a temporary checkpoint nearby.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said the exchange of fire was the result of a “misunderstanding” between the two sides, an account that left open the possibility of an insider attack. Such attacks have escalated this year, killing at least 52 coalition personnel.