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Suicide bomb kills 20 in Afghanistan

Three NATO soldiers were among a group killed in a suicide bombing in Khost, in eastern Afghanistan, today.

Afghanistan suicide attacks 2011 3 3Enlarge
Afghan rescue workers outside Finest supermarket after a suicide bombing attack on Jan. 28, 2011. (MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images)

A suicide bomber targeted a patrol of international and Afghan forces in the busy city center of Khost on Monday morning, killing at least 20 people, authorities said, according to media reports

The victims included three NATO troops — whom the Los Angeles Times identified as Americans, citing the reports of Afghan officials — and their translator, as well as 10 Afghan police officers and six Afghan policemen, ABC News reported

Sixty people were wounded in the attack, which came a day after the US death toll in the Afghanistan conflict reached 2,000 troops.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement:

"A foreign and Afghan force joint convoy was targeted this morning around 9 a.m. at the vicinity of Khost Governor Office, while the soldiers were dismounted in the area,” the Taliban said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

“The attack was carried out with a suicide vest worn by one of our hero Mujahid, named Shoiab Kunduzi.”

The BBC News's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul said the suicide bomber targeted a coalition convoy passing through a crowded part of Khost.

Witnesses said the attacker waited for troops to leave their vehicles before detonating the bomb.

NATO did not confirm the nationalities of the soldiers, but Sommerville and other correspondents said US troops operate in the area.

The New York Times reported among the 10 Afghan dead were four police officers from the Khost Quick Reaction Force, including the force’s commander. 

The Khost governor’s office condemned the attack.

Khost is on the border with Pakistan near Miram Shah, the capital of North Waziristan in the ungoverned tribal areas.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/war/afghanistan-war/121001/suicide-bomb-kills-14-afghanistan