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Bike bomber who attacked Nato patrol in Afghanistan hid explosives under burka

A Taliban suicide bomber dressed in a woman's burka who rammed his motorcycle into a Nato convoy killed a soldier from Georgia and two Afghan civilians, officials have said.

The attack took place on Thursday evening and hit the Nato patrol near the town of Qarabagh, barely 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

It was the second suicide bombing in as many days that targeted Nato.

On Wednesday, a suicide attacker hit a convoy on the edge of the southern city of Kandahar, killing two US soldiers and wounding another four.

Both attacks were claimed by the Taliban.

Three other Georgian soldiers were wounded in Thursday's bombing, as well as two US service members and an Afghan interpreter, according to the US military.

The military said the wounded are in a stable condition receiving treatment at the US military hospital at Bagram air base, also north of Kabul.

The attacker concealed his explosives beneath the all-enveloping women's garment known as a burka, according to Abdul Sami Sharifi, the district governor in Qarabagh.

He rammed his motorcycle into the Nato patrol, setting off his explosives, Mr Sharifi said.

In a statement, US General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, praised the contribution of the nearly 900 Georgian military personnel serving in Afghanistan.

"The commitment of Georgia as our largest non-Nato contributor is vital to our mission and we are honoured to stand beside them under these difficult circumstances," Gen Nicholson said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that one of its fighters from Takhar province carried out the attack at 8pm in Qarabagh.

He claimed 11 Americans were killed, but the insurgents routinely exaggerate their claims.

Meanwhile, in southern Helmand province, the Taliban stormed a market on Friday in the Gareshk district and fired at a nearby police station, according to district police chief Ismail Khan Khopalwaq.

The market was closed because of the Muslim weekend and no casualties were reported in the attack.

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

The district has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks between Afghan security forces, backed by US air support, and the Taliban, who now control roughly 80% of Helmand province.

Gareshk district is also where the Pentagon confirmed that an errant US bomb last month destroyed a police outpost, killing 12 officers and wounding another 11.

The incident is still under investigation and a joint US and Afghan delegation earlier visited the area.

In recent days, the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan security forces across the country's south.

A Taliban attack early on Friday on a police outpost in southern Zabul province, on the border with Pakistan, killed four policemen.

And three policemen were killed on Thursday when the Taliban attacked an outpost in southern Kandahar province, police spokesman Zia Durrani said.

In a separate attack near Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, the Taliban killed another five policemen in an attack on a checkpoint outside the city on Thursday, according to Zahir Gull Maqbol, an Afghan army commander.

AP

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