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Blast in busy Afghan marketplace kills at least seven

May 14, 2012 |  4:10 am

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A remote-controlled bomb killed a provincial council member and six other people in a northern province on Monday, Afghan officials said. The bombing comes less than a week before a major summit at which the West is expected to reaffirm plans to wrap up its combat role in Afghanistan.

The blast in Faryab province, in Afghanistan's northwest, came a day after President Hamid Karzai announced that Afghan security forces were preparing to take the lead in safeguarding more areas of the country, in line with plans for the pullout of most NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.

At next week's scheduled NATO summit in Chicago, the United States and its allies are to underscore support for the training of the Afghan police and army, which are supposed to be moving to the forefront in the fight against the Taliban. When the next phase of transition to Afghan control is completed later this year, Afghan forces will be responsible for security in areas where three-quarters of the population lives.

It was not immediately known whether the slain Faryab provincial council member, Amanullah Shahabzai, was the target of the bombing in the Ghormach district. The mid-morning explosion in a busy marketplace also injured eight people, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry blamed the attack on "enemies of the people" -- its usual term for describing the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

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-- Laura King and Aimal Yaqubi

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