A suicide bomber blew himself up in southern Afghanistan, killing 21 Afghan civilians and two British soldiers in one of the deadliest such attacks in months, officials said on Friday.
The attack on Thursday tore through a busy bazaar in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold where British soldiers have had control of several provinces and foreign troops have faced some of their toughest fighting.
Afghan authorities said yesterday a dozen Afghan civilians were killed. On Friday, they said this toll had risen as people died of their injuries.
"Twenty-one people are dead and 22 wounded," Helmand government spokesman Daud Ahmadi told AFP.
All the dead were civilians and some were children, but it was not yet established how many, he said. Two policemen were among the wounded.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said two of its troops died in the blast but did not give their nationalities -- later confirmed by the British defence ministry.
It took to 100 the number of foreign soldiers to lose their lives in Afghanistan this year, most of them in attacks, according to a toll by the icasualties.Organisation website the tracks the wars in Kabul and in Iraq.
There was no claim of responsibility for the blast, which was carried out by an attacker on a motorcycle packed with explosives.