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Suicide bomber kills 10 in north Afghanistan
Suicide bomber on motorcycle kills 10 people in northern Afghanistan province
By The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ' A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least 10 people and wounded 26 on Wednesday in a northern Afghan province, officials and police said.

Lal Mohammad Ahmad Zai, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, said the bomber blew himself up in Maimanah, the capital of Faryab province. It was not clear what the target was.

Zai said of the 10 people killed, four were police officers and the rest were civilians ' including two women and two children.

Earlier, NATO said two of its service members were also killed in a bomb explosion on Wednesday in northern Afghanistan. It provided no other details about the attack or the nationalities of the two. It was unclear if the two incidents were related. So far this year, 96 NATO service members have been killed in Afghanistan, including at least 52 Americans.

The director of Maimanah hospital, Abdul Ali Aleen, said six of the dead and the 26 wounded in the suicide bombing were brought to his hospital.

Abdul Satar Barez, deputy governor of Faryab, said the attack occurred near a park in downtown Maimanah about an hour and-a-half before noon.

Militants have stepped up their attacks in recent days, killing nine Afghan policemen and abducting 11 across the nation in the past three days.

The surge appears to be part of the militants' drive to assert their power as NATO forces, led by the U.S., try to build up the Afghan military and leave combat responsibility to the local forces by the end of 2014.

Attacks and casualties are also expected to rise around the country as the spring fighting season gets under way. Fighting in Afghanistan usually wanes during the winter months as Taliban fighters take a break because of bad weather. Heavy snow also covers many of the mountain passes used by the Taliban and other insurgent fighters to cross mainly into eastern Afghanistan from safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.

Also, attacks against NATO and Afghan security forces have increased in the past two weeks, mostly in eastern Afghanistan.

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