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Attacks kill scores in Afghanistan

From Masoud Popalzai, CNN
updated 5:14 AM EDT, Wed August 15, 2012
  • NATO commander in Afghanistan calls on Taliban leader to "rein in his murderers"
  • Three separate attacks leave at least 47 dead, 145 wounded across Afghanistan
  • A government spokesman says 29 people died in a series of blasts in Zaranj
  • In Kunduz, a motorcycle bomb exploded in a busy bazaar, killing 10 people

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghanistan endured an unusually bloody day Tuesday, with three separate attacks leaving at least 47 people dead and at least 145 wounded, according to government and police officials.

At least 29 people died and 110 were injured in a series of attacks Tuesday afternoon in Zaranj, the capital of the southwestern Afghan province of Nimruz, a government spokesman said.

In northeastern Afghanistan, a bomb blast at a bazaar in Kunduz province killed 10 civilians, while a Taliban ambush in Badakhshan killed a district government chief and three police officers, according to police officials.

The attacks made Tuesday among the bloodiest days in Afghanistan so far this year.

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Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said the bomb attacks were the work of Taliban insurgents and called on Taliban leader Mullah Omar to "rein in his murderers."

"What we saw today were further acts of intentional mass murder," he said. "By targeting innocent civilians in populated areas, the insurgents have again shown they will kill non-combatants without hesitation to advance their backward looking plans for Afghanistan."

The first in a series of apparent suicide bomb attacks in Zaranj hit a government gas station, killing and injuring some people, provincial government spokesman Omar Baluch said. There were a total of six suicide bombers.

After those victims had been evacuated to a hospital, a second bomb exploded there, causing more injuries and deaths, including some who had been injured in the initial attack, Baluch said.

Police shot two other attackers dead after they used hand grenades in attacks against various targets. Security forces in the province arrested three other bombers who were planning attacks, Baluch said.

Sporadic gunfire could still be heard inside the city Tuesday evening, he added.

The U.S. military was expected to evacuate nine of the injured to a military hospital in neighboring Helmand province, Baluch said.

The ambush that killed the government chief of Sheghnan district and three officers happened Tuesday afternoon in Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan. The attack happened in neighboring Baharak district, which lies between Sheghnan and the provincial capital of Faizabad, Rasekh said.

And in Kunduz, Dashte Archi district chief Shaikh Sadruddin said a motorcycle bomb exploded in a crowded bazaar, killing 14 civilians and wounding 35 others. Children were among the casualties, Sadruddin said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in Zaranj and Dashte Archi, but Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Badakhshan ambush in an e-mail sent to reporters.

The attacks come one day after police arrested two other would-be attackers in Nimruz.

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