Taliban claim suicide attack on NATO; 1 servicemember killed

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban took responsibility Friday for a suicide attack on a NATO patrol north of the Afghan capital of Kabul that the U.S. military said killed one service person, whose identity was not being released until family members could be notified.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the suicide attacker from northern Takhar province hit the patrol near Qarabagh, barely 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Kabul, about 8 p.m. Thursday.

Mujahid claimed 11 Americans were killed, but U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said one person died and six were wounded, including an Afghan translator.

The wounded were all in stable condition and being treated in the U.S. military hospital at the Bagram airfield north of Kabul.

The conflicting death tolls could not be immediately explained, but the Taliban routinely exaggerate their claims.

The coalition consists of personnel from 39 nations.

Thursday's attack was the second suicide attack against NATO convoys in as many days. On Wednesday, a suicide attacker hit a convoy on the edge of the southern city of Kandahar, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding another four.

Meanwhile in southern Helmand's Gareshk district, Taliban gunmen took control of a market that was closed because of the Islamic weekly holiday on Friday. They also fired at a nearby police station, Gareshk District police chief Ismail Khan Khopalwaq said.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police outpost in Gareshk, killing two police and wounding another two.

The district has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks between Afghan National Security Forces, aided by U.S. air support, and the Taliban, who control roughly 80 percent of Helmand province.

The Taliban have taken credit for the attacks, claiming heavy casualties among police.

Gareshk district is also where the Pentagon confirmed that an errant U.S. bomb last month destroyed a police outpost, killing 12 officers and wounding another 11. The incident is still under investigation and a joint U.S. and Afghan delegation earlier visited the area.


Associated Press writer Mir Wais Khan contributed to the report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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