Schoolchildren killed in bomb attack on US officials

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A SUICIDE bomber targeting an American military delegation outside a government office in eastern Afghanistan has killed 12 people, including nine schoolchildren who were walking nearby and two international service members, Nato said.

The attack comes as the Taleban and other militants step up bombings and raids on police posts nationwide in a major test of the ability of Afghan soldiers and police to hold their ground without international military forces, who are withdrawing.

General Zelmia Oryakhail, provincial police chief of Paktia province, said the bomber, on a motorcycle, detonated his explosives in Samkani district as American forces passed. He said a local school had just let pupils out for the day.

The US military delegation had just attended a security briefing at the district administrative office. The bomber struck as the Americans were leaving the compound.