18 killed in Afghan suicide blast

Afghans gather at the site of a blast in Khost city on  Friday. AFP

The blast injured 35 others and one of the dead was a police officer, governor of Farah province Rohul Ameen said in a telephone interview.

“It was a very sad incident against civilians,” Ameen said. “The suicide bomber just wanted to kill civilians. This is inhuman and an un-Islamic act being carried out by cowardly people,” he added.

The attack happened at 9 am when the market was crowded.
The attack followed several days of operations by Afghan troops and Nato forces against Taliban militants in nearby areas, local officials said. It also came a day after Karzai was inaugurated for a second term, promising that the role of international troops in fighting insurgents would be reduced.

“We are determined that in the next five years, the Afghan forces are capable of taking the lead in ensuring security and stability across the country,” he said. He also offered to reintegrate insurgents, including the Taliban, who wish to support the government. He said he would hold a traditional loya jirga, or assembly, and invite “dissatisfied compatriots who are not directly linked to international terrorism to return to their homeland.”

Those offers seemed to have little immediate impact on the daily fight as foreign troops battle Taliban militants, including bomb-makers specialising in the so-called improvised explosive devices that are claiming an increasing toll.

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