Afghan Police: Suicide Bomber Kills 9 in West

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded bazaar in western Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least nine people and wounding 30 others, police said.

The attack targeted the head of the Faryab provincial council, Mullah Rahmatullah Turkistani, police chief Khalil Andarabi said. Turkistani, who was wounded in the blast, regularly visits the bazaar in Khwaja Sabz Post district on Fridays to hear citizens' concerns and dine at a local restaurant, Andarabi said.

"Witnesses told police that they saw a teenage boy walking in the bazaar," Andarabi said. "He had a book in his hands and sometimes he was reading. He was probably waiting for his target to come."

When Turkistani arrived, the teenager walked toward him and detonated his cache of explosives, killing an Afghan policeman and eight civilians and wounding 30 more, Andarabi said. Witnesses identified the bomber through his body parts found at the scene.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as an "anti-Islamic" act, but stressed it would not halt his government's efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The blast occurred in a region of the country that has not been the focus of heavy fighting.
Associated Press Television News footage from the scene showed yellow and red apples pockmarked with shrapnel lying in pools of blood and a man's shoe.

Turkistani's pickup truck, which took the brunt of the blast, was pitted with holes and the body parts of the bomber lay on a blanket nearby. An ambulance removed the victims' bodies, covered with pink-and-yellow floral blankets, from the scene.