GARDEZ - A Taliban suicide bomber on a motorbike rammed an Afghan-NATO patrol in the town of Khost on Wednesday, killing 21 people, including three
Another 37 people were injured in the blast in the eastern town close to the border with Pakistan, hospital
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force had earlier said three of its troops died in the bombing but had not revealed the nationality of the soldiers. Later, a US defence official revealed the identity of the three NATO soldiers killed, adding that several US troops were also injured in the attack.
It was the second major attack on NATO in Khost in three weeks. The government blamed the Taliban and a spokesman for the insurgent militia later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Wednesday’s blast targeted a combined Afghan and coalition patrol passing through Khost.
Amir Padsha, the director of Khost city hospital, said the bodies of three police officers and eight civilians, along with 17 wounded were brought in.
Babri Gul, the head of the Babri Gul private hospital in Khost, said he had received six bodies, including four members of the same family, and 20 wounded. The US embassy in Kabul released a statement confirming that three members of the US-led NATO mission and an Afghan interpreter were killed. An ISAF official told AFP the three personnel were soldiers. Afghan police and Interior Ministry officials confirmed that the four dead announced by the Americans were in addition to the 17 Afghan bodies taken to local hospitals. A Taliban spokesman told AFP by telephone that one of its fighters blew himself up alongside a US military patrol in Khost, killing 10 American soldiers, including a translator, and four Afghan policemen. The militia are known to exaggerate their claims and did not speak about civilian deaths. In southern Afghanistan, a roadside bomb attack killed at least six civilians, including women and children travelling on a tractor in Puli Alam, the capital of Logar province, deputy provincial police chief Rahis Khan Sadiq told AFP.“Four children and two women were killed and four others were wounded,” he said.