Bomber strikes crowded Afghan market, kills 1o

/ Source: The Associated Press

A suicide bomber apparently trying to target Afghan police detonated his explosives in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing eight civilians and two policemen, an official said.

The attack in the central market in Musa Qala in Afghanistan's dangerous Helmand province also wounded 25 civilians and two police, said Helmand police chief Asadullah Sherzad. Six children were among the wounded.

Taliban and other militant suicide bombers frequently target Afghan and international military forces in their suicide attacks, but many more Afghan civilians typically die in the attacks than do government officials or military personnel.

In Kabul on Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a German Embassy vehicle but killed two Afghan civilians, including a street sweeper.

A Taliban spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment regarding Monday's attack in Helmand. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing in Kabul.

Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February 2007 and held it until a massive U.S.-British-Afghan operation in December 2007 dislodged the fighters. The town remains surrounded by Taliban and is in a dangerous region of Helmand where the Afghan government has little control.

District chief shot dead
Elsewhere, gunmen on a motorbike killed a district chief in central Afghanistan on Monday, a provincial spokesman said.

Abdul Rahim Desewal was shot dead as he left his house in Ghazni city, capital of central Ghazni province, said Sayed Ismail Jahangir, spokesman for the provincial governor. Desewal's bodyguard was wounded in the attack.

The gunmen fled the scene after the shooting, Jahangir said.

Desewal was the chief of Andar district in Ghazni province, an area of intense militant activity.

It was not clear who was responsible, but Taliban militants regularly assassinate government officials in their attempt to weaken the grip of President Hamid Karzai's administration in the provinces.

Afghanistan has seen a spike in violence over the last two years. More than 5,900 people have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials.