At least eight children and a policeman died Saturday in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Khost, capital of the like-named province in eastern Afghanistan, local police told Efe.
The attack, in which two other youngsters were wounded, occurred around noon, according a local police official who chose to remain anonymous.
“A suicide attacker detonated a bomb near a patrol made up of Afghan police and international forces,” the provincial governor of Khost, Barialai Rawan, said in a communique.
But a spokesperson for the allied command denied to the local news agency AIP that any international troops were in the patrol attacked by Afghan insurgents.
Another Taliban suicide attack on Saturday morning left nine civilians dead near the Defense Ministry in the Afghan capital, Kabul, soon after United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel kicked off a surprise official visit to Afghanistan.
NATO said that Hagel was “in a safe place” during the attack, which occurred around 9:00 a.m. when the terrorist rode a bicycle up to the main entrance to the Defense Ministry.
According to a report by the U.N. mission to Afghanistan published last week, the war in Afghanistan left a total of 2,759 civilians dead and 4,805 wounded in 2012.
Insurgents were responsible for 81 percent of civilian victims last year in the central Asian country.
The process of withdrawing international troops from Afghanistan is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.