A suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla attacked a US military convoy near a crowded market just outside of Jalalabad, Afghanistan today, killing at least 21 people, including one US soldier. The explosion wounded another 74 people near the heavily trafficked livestock market.
The attack destroyed a US military vehicle, two civilian vehicles and two rickshaws, according to a photographer on the site. UN official Chris Alexander urged insurgent groups to “bear responsibility for ensuring civilians are kept out of harm’s way,” while provincial governor Rahmatullah Roufi announced a “purification” operation against insurgents. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
For a city so near the Pakistan border, Jalalabad had been a location of relative quiet as violence in the nation soared this year. There were some bombings in the area last year, and it lies along the Khyber Pass route which was the site of a major hijacking earlier this week.
The AP reports that this brings the US toll in Afghanistan to at least 148 this year, the highest number since the 2001 invasion.