Motorcycle bomb at Afghan market kills 3

May 14, 2013, 6:32 AM EDT
REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb hidden in a parked motorcycle ripped through a crowded Afghan market in on Tuesday, killing at least three people, officials said, and NATO reported that U.S. special forces had come under attack the previous day north of Kabul.

The motorcycle bomb hit a market in Safar, a village 70 kilometers (40 miles) from the district center of Garamser in volatile Helmand province, said Omer Zawak, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

Three people were killed and seven were wounded in the blast, said Zawak. He said the toll could rise because Tuesday is the day residents hold their weekly bazaar. Four children were among the wounded, two critically, police spokesman Shah Mahmood Hashna said.

The attack late Monday on the Americans was the second that targeted international troops in Afghanistan that day.

According to NATO spokesman Maj. Bryan Woods, a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a U.S. Special Operation Forces convoy as it was returning to base after clearing land mines north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Woods said there were no casualties in that attack in Kapisa province. He said as the bomber targeted the U.S. convoy, insurgents started firing at it.

Qais Qadri, spokesman for the Kapisa governor, said one civilian was killed in the attack, but Woods could not confirm the civilian death, saying only that the special forces returned safely to their base "after engaging the enemy."

Earlier Monday, a truck bomb hit the entrance of a Georgian outpost in the Musa Qala district in Helmand, killing three service members from the former Soviet republic. Georgian soldiers are under NATO's command.

Zawak said that in the attack on the Georgian forces, several troops were also wounded. The deaths of the three Georgian troops brought the number of soldiers from the former Soviet republic killed in Afghanistan to 22. Georgia has about 1,600 troops in Afghanistan, the largest non-NATO contingent there. Georgian soldiers are under NATO's command.

On Tuesday, Georgia's Defense Ministry said the wounded soldiers were in stable condition in a military hospital, and their injuries were not life-threatening. The ministry would not say how many were wounded in the attack, but NATO said "many."

So far this month, 12 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press count. In addition to the three Georgians, eight were Americans and one was German.


Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul, and Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Misha Dzhindzhikashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia contributed to this report.