Sixteen civilians killed by bomber in southern Afghanistan

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Friday, January 15, 2010

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a central Afghanistan market earlier today, killing at least sixteen civilians and a policeman, and wounding more than a dozen, according to reports. Nobody has, at least yet, claimed responsibility for the blast.

Police said the attack occurred in the town of Dihrawud, in the Uruzgan province. The area was crowded as shoppers and vendors gathered for a bazaar. Three of those killed in the blast were reportedly children.

"The terrorists today carried out a suicide attack in the bazaar of Dihrawud district of Uruzgan province as a result of which 16 civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded," said Uruzgan police chief Juma Gul Himat.

"The bomber had explosives attached to a waistcoat. He was spotted by a guard of the money market which is inside the bazaar and then he blew himself up," said General Abdul Hameed, a spokesman for NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

The attack comes a day after the United Nations said the number of civilians killed in war-related violence in Afghanistan reached its highest level last year since US-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001. In that report, the chief human rights officer at the UN mission in Kabul, Norah Niland, said 2,412 Afghan civilians were killed in 2009, two-thirds of them by anti-government rebels.