Bomb Wounds Five U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

A roadside bomb wounded five U.S. troops when it hit their vehicle in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, while a suicide attack on a U.S.-led coalition convoy in the country's south killed the bomber but hurt no one else, officials said.

The insurgents opened fire at the troops after the roadside bombing in mountainous Kunar province, a U.S. military statement said. The wounded service members were airlifted for treatment to Bagram, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, it said. Their conditions were not immediately available.

The suicide bombing happened on a main road in Maywand district, Kandahar province, when the convoy of coalition and Afghan forces was passing. None of the troops in the convoy was believed to have been hurt, said Gen. Rahmatullah Raufi, the local army chief.

Security forces shot and killed an alleged accomplice of the bomber as he was fleeing the scene on a motorbike, said Gen. Rahmatullah Raufi, the local army chief.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Mohammed Hanif, called The Associated Press to claim responsibility for both attacks.

In other violence, an unidentified gunman shot dead Sayed Sadeq, the speaker of northern Tahhar province's governing assembly, after breaking into his home Saturday, said Ghulam Hazarat, the deputy police chief.

Sadeq was well respected in the mountainous region and was a supporter of the country's U.S.-backed central government. Before the Taliban were ousted in late 2001, he was a mid-ranking commander in a militia run by renegade former premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is now wanted as a terrorist by the United States.

Several district government chiefs and local police commanders have been killed in recent weeks, most in attacks blamed on the Taliban.

Violence has spiked across Afghanistan in the past year, raising fears for this country's future and leaving swaths of it off-limits to aid workers and other trying to rebuild after a quarter century of war.