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21 dead in Afghan blast

world Updated: Nov 14, 2008 00:38 IST
Rahim Faiez

A suicide car bomber struck a US military convoy passing through a crowded market in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 20 civilians and a US soldier and wounding an additional 74 civilians, officials said.

Separately, an explosion in southern Afghanistan killed two NATO troops, the military alliance said in a statement. It did not disclose the troops’ nationalities.

The suicide attack in the east took place in Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province, US military spokesman Lt Cmdr Walter Matthews said.

The bomber struck the convoy near a crowded market, where people were trading sheep, cows, goats and other animals, said Ghafoor Khan, the spokesman for the provincial police chief.

An Associated Press photographer said that an American military vehicle, two civilian vehicles and two rickshaws were destroyed. More than 5,400 people, including nearly 1,000 civilians, have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to a tally compiled based on figures provided by Afghan and international officials.

Afghanistan asks for more UK troops

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose government is calling for more foreign troops to help quell a deadly Taliban insurgency.

Taliban urge world to block executions

The Taliban urged the UN on Thursday to press the Afghan government to stop executing prisoners on death row, citing concern about fair trials.

Afghanistan resumed executions this week after a break of more than a year.

The United Nations and European Union have called on Karzai to halt the executions, citing concern about the standards of judicial fairness.