IMAGE: GRIEVING RELATIVE
Rafiq Maqbool  /  AP
A relative of an Afghan lawmaker killed in Tuesday's bombing is comforted during a funeral service in Kabul on Thursday.
updated 11/8/2007 2:57:24 PM ET 2007-11-08T19:57:24

Hundreds of weeping relatives rushed toward the grave of Afghanistan's leading opposition spokesman, who was buried Thursday along with four other legislators killed in the country's deadliest suicide attack since the Taliban's ouster.

Thousands gathered to bury Sayed Mustafa Kazimi, the other lawmakers and their bodyguards, who were among the 73 people, most of them children, slain in Tuesday's bombing.

Clerics recited prayers and local and international dignitaries stood by in silence as the flag-draped coffins of the legislators and their bodyguards were lowered into the ground near Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.

A sixth was to be buried in the southern province of Helmand.

Friendly fire?
Some of Kazimi's supporters held banners calling for an international investigation into the bombing, suggesting they held the government partly responsible. Witnesses have said some victims may have been killed or wounded by guards who opened fire after the blast, which occurred as lawmakers were about to visit a sugar factory in the northern province of Baghlan.

Scores of the victims were schoolchildren who — along with tribal elders and government officials — had lined the streets to greet them.

Violence in Afghanistan this year has been the deadliest since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban from power. More than 5,700 people, mostly militants, have died so far this year in insurgency-related violence, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials.

The Norwegian military said one of its troops was killed and a second was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in northern Afghanistan on Thursday.

A news release said the soldiers, whose names were not immediately released, were in a Norwegian vehicle near their base in the northern Afghan city of Maymana when the bomb went off.

The Norwegian Joint Headquarters said two other Norwegian soldiers following in an accompanying vehicle evacuated the wounded soldier to their base, where he was in stable condition.

He was being treated by Norwegian and German doctors at the joint base, the statement said.

The soldiers were part of the NATO-led force in the country. No other details were immediately released.

In southern Zabul province, Taliban militants fired rocket-propelled grenades on a police convoy, killing seven officers, said police officer Gul Mohammad Khan.

106 wounded
The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, condemned the suicide attack "in the strongest terms" and urged Afghan authorities "to make every efforts to bring the perpetrators and organizers to justice."

Baghlan provincial Police Chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Sayed Khail said that 106 people also were wounded in the blast some 95 miles north of Kabul, and that authorities were investigating whether gunfire caused some of the casualties.

Most of those killed were students, said Dr. Khalil Narmgui of the Baghlani-jadid hospital, though he did not have an exact figure. The Ministry of Education confirmed only that at least 18 schoolchildren and five teachers died.

Gunfire erupted from security personnel for a short time after the explosion, said Narmgui and other officials who were at the blast site.

On Wednesday, U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops killed two insurgents and detained 10 others during an operation to disrupt the movement of Taliban weapons and explosive materials in Qalat district, also in Zabul province, the coalition said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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