KABUL, Afghanistan -- A powerful explosion hit a NATO convoy in a restive eastern province Wednesday, killing at least 11 Afghan civilians and wounding 17 others, Afghan officials said.
A British spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Williams, said it was believed that the blast had also caused "some ISAF casualties" but that military officials were still trying to determine exactly what had happened.
The noontime attack took place in the city of Khowst, in the province of the same name, where the Haqqani network, a Taliban offshoot based across the border in Pakistan's tribal areas, is known to be active. But other insurgent groups operate there as well.
The director of Khowst city hospital, Dr. Amir Paadshah, said the 11 Afghans killed included three policemen, and that the 17 injured civilians included at least two women. The hospital and other medical facilities in the city were overwhelmed by the number of casualties, then besieged by panicked relatives of those who were injured and killed.
Khowst city remains volatile even though there is a major American-run base on its outskirts. That installation, known as Camp Salerno, came under a fierce and concerted insurgent attack on June 1 that left dozens of troops seriously injured.
At the time, the NATO force disclosed little about the incident, including the fact that insurgents had set off a huge truck bomb at the gates of the installation, causing about 100 injuries, about three dozen of them serious. The Washington Post first reported the actual severity of the attack, an account that was subsequently confirmed by Western military officials.
-- Laura King and Hashmat Baktash