Afghanistan suicide blast kills 17 in bathhouse
By Ismail Sameem
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 17 people, including a police commander, inside a public bathhouse in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar on Friday in the country's worst attack in more than five months.
The bombing, which officials said wounded 21 people, was the bloodiest attack since July and comes after the end of the deadliest year in an increasingly unpopular war that has now dragged on for more than nine years.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said three of its troops were killed in two separate attacks on Friday in the east and south of the country.
Zalmai Ayoubi, spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said the target of the bathhouse raid, which took place in the town of Spin Boldak on the Pakistan border, was the border police commander.
"This brutal and inhumane act was the work of the enemies of Islam and humanity," he said, adding that all the other casualties were civilians.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location that his hardline Islamist group had carried out the attack.
President Hamid Karzai issued a statement condemning the attack as "un-Islamic."
Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since late 2001 when U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban, with record casualties on all sides of the conflict. Continued...