Two Afghan boys were wounded on Monday when a suspected Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up near a convoy of U.S. troops, the latest attack in the worst spell of violence in the country since 2001.
None of the soldiers was hurt in the blast on a road near the Bagram airbase, the hub of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, police said.
“It was a suicide bomb. Two boys on bicycles passing by were wounded,” said a police officer at the scene, Sebghatullah Khan.
Police said earlier the bomber had hit the convoy, about half a mile from the main entrance to the base, 30 miles north of Kabul, but later said the bomb exploded prematurely.
The body of the bomber, torn into two pieces, lay beside the wreckage of his car, a Reuters journalist said.
Mohammad Hanif, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility.
Surge in violence
Violence has surged in Afghanistan this year to its worst level since the hard-line Islamist militia was ousted in 2001 for refusing to give up Osama bin Laden. More than 1,100 people, including nearly 50 foreign troops, have been killed.
One soldier from the U.S.-led force died of wounds suffered during combat in the eastern province of Kunar on Sunday, the U.S. military said in a statement. It did not give his nationality.
The surge in violence comes as a separate NATO-led force prepares to take over responsibility for security in the Taliban’s southern heartland from the U.S.-led force.
Five health officials kidnapped by the Taliban last week in the eastern province of Nuristan have been released, provincial officials said. Two were doctors, two were provincial health officials and one worked for a Swedish aid group.
The Taliban have attacked aid workers, road construction crews and telecommunications workers, as well as others seen as supporting the Western-backed government.
Sixteen aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan in recent months, the United Nations said on Monday.