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One Afghan killed in blast outside US base

Written by: Staff

KABUL, April 6 (Reuters) A mortar bomb exploded in a market outside the main US military base in Afghanistan today, killing an Afghan civilian and wounding three, officials said.

Taliban insurgents fighting to expel foreign troops and overthrow the Western-backed government have unleashed a wave of violence in recent weeks, including attacks on military bases, ambushes and roadside and suicide bombings.

In another attack on foreign forces, three civilians were wounded when a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded near NATO peacekeepers in the north of the country.

In the south, police opened fire on a convoy of US-led troops in the dark in the mistaken belief they were Taliban, said the chief of police in Helmand province, Abdur Rahman.

Eight police were wounded when the US-led troops returned fire.

Rahman said he did not know if any of the troops had been wounded but said one of their vehicles had been destroyed.

The US military said it was looking into the incident.

Among the three people wounded in the mortar bomb blast about 200 metres (yards) from the gates of the heavily guarded Bagram base was a teenaged girl, said district administrative chief Kabir Ahmad.

''We have established that it was a mortar, but we don't know where it was fired from,'' said police official Mohammad Nasir.

The air base, 50 km (30 miles) north of Kabul, is the headquarters for more than 19,000 US troops battling insurgents and hunting for their leaders in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

No foreign soldiers were wounded. US troops later inspected the blast site, a witness said.

Rockets or mortar bombs occasionally hit foreign military bases but usually cause little damage and no injuries. Rockets are occasionally fired into the capital, Kabul, but rarely cause casualties.

The chief of police in the northern province of Kunduz said a remote-controlled bomb on a bicycle was detonated near NATO peacekeepers, wounding three passers-by. None of the NATO troops was hurt, he and a force spokeswoman said.

In a separate incident, two people were killed near the eastern town of Khost when a taxi travelling along a road exploded, provincial police said.

An officer said a man in the taxi might have been a suicide bomber whose explosives went off accidently. The driver was also killed.


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