Homicide Bomber Kills 4, Wounds 25 in Afghanistan

A homicide bomber blew himself up Thursday on a crowded street near a police vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing four civilians and wounding 25 people, including up to four policemen, officials said.

The homicide bomber hit near the vehicle of highway police commander Rozi Khan outside Qalat city, said Zabul provincial police chief Noor Mohammad Paktin.

The bomber, who was on foot, died in the attack. It wasn't immediately clear if Khan was hurt.

Zabul governor Dilber Jan Arman said four civilians were killed and 23 civilians and two policemen were wounded. He said that the bomb hit a crowded street and injured shopkeepers and passers-by, but no women and children.

Earlier, Abdul Satar, an official at the Qalat hospital where the victims were sent for treatment, reported four police wounded. He could not immediately be reached to verify the later figure from the governor.

Meanwhile, eight suspected Taliban militants were killed and a policeman wounded in a joint operation by the Afghan police and army Tuesday in western Farah province, said Gov. Abdul Samad Stanikzai.

On Wednesday in the south, NATO troops launched a "precision air strike against a known Taliban command post" in an isolated area of the Panjwayi district of Kandahar province, said a statement from the International Security Assistance Force. It said the target was completely destroyed.

Capt. Andre Salloum, a NATO spokesman in Kandahar, said there were some Taliban casualties, but he could not say how many.

Local officials said they did not know yet the number of casualties from the air strike.

Nearly 4,000 deaths have been reported in insurgency-related violence this year in Afghanistan — mostly militants, but also including some 300 civilians.