Eight civilians are dead following a car bomb attack in a southern Afghan farmers' market.

Seventeen people are hurt, including five children.

A local police chief says there were no security personnel in the area and accuses the Taliban of targeting civilians to "create fear in the people."

Militants are threatening more attacks this spring using new techniques. A statement attributed to a senior commander with the Taliban also warns Afghans working with the government to either quit or become targets. The statement claims the Taliban's ultimate goal is the collapse of President Hamid Karzai's government.

U.S. and NATO officials are dismissing the idea of a Taliban offensive. They say the only offensive that will take place this year in the country is one by Western and Afghan forces.