A suicide bomber slipped through the Afghan capital's tight security ring today, killing three civilians near a busy market two days before an international conference hosting representatives from about 60 nations, officials said.
An American service member died in a roadside bombing in the south and other weekend attacks left 11 Afghans dead, reports said, as the Taliban meet the arrival of thousands more US troops this year with a rising tide of violence.
The Kabul bomber was on foot near the market and his target was unclear, police official Abdul Ghafor Sayedzada said.
Hospitals reported three civilians killed, including a child, public health official Kabir Amiri said. Health ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar said about 45 people were wounded.
University student Tamim Ahmad said he saw a man on foot run up to a passing convoy of international troops and detonate an explosives-laden vest. However, Afghan authorities and NATO said no international troops were operating in the area at the time of the attack, which the international force condemned.
"The insurgents have chosen to use violence to gain media attention, once again at the expense of innocent Afghan civilians," said Col William Maxwell, director of the Combined Joint Operations Centre for the NATO-led force.
Security has been tightened across the capital ahead of Tuesday's Kabul Conference, which will be attended by the heads of NATO and the United Nations and top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.