A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least 10 people,including three American soldiers,at a park in a relatively peaceful area of northern Afghanistan on Wednesday,part of an increase in violence at the start of the spring fighting season.
The Taliban,which claimed responsibility for the attack,are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power and undermine US efforts to try to build up the Afghan military,who will take the lead in combat responsibility over the next couple of years.
Shortly before noon,the bomber detonated his explosives at the gate of the park in Maimanah,the capital of Faryab province,police spokesman Lal Mohammad Ahmad Zai said. His target was unclear,but Zai said four of the 10 killed were Afghan police officers. At least 20 people were wounded,officials said.
In Kabul,NATO said three of its service members were killed in a bombing Wednesday in northern Afghanistan. In a statement on their website,the Afghan Taliban claimed killing 16 coalition troops and 12 Afghans in the Faryab suicide attack.
Faryab is relatively calm but is a stronghold of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,or IMU,an al-Qaeda affiliated group that has been most active in Afghanistans northern provinces.