Afghanistan: 17 killed, 47 injured in Afghan suicide attack on market

Monday, August 28, 2006

Seventeen people were killed today and another 47 injured when a suicide bomber detonated a hidden explosive in a market. Local hospital officials have confirmed that another six people are in critical condition, undergoing treatment.

The market was owned by a former police chief in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The bomber detonated the explosives — apparently strapped to his body — outside the busy market, which is close to a police station.

There are conflicting reports that the bombing may have been the work of al-Qaeda related groups, or it may have been done by a group of men meeting to settle a dispute.

Afghanistan's southern provinces have seen a surge in violence in recent days, making them the bloodiest since 2001. The NATO ISAF forces have taken a number of casualties, sparking internal investigations amid reports of friendly fire incidents that have killed several members of the Afghan National Police.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an inquiry into the killing of civilians in the insurgent attacks as residents and troops brace for what could be more violence in the days to come.