Eight killed in Afghanistan market blast



 At least eight civilians died and 28 were injured Thursday when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in a market in northern Afghanistan, an official said.

The bomb, activated by remote control, went off in the crowded market in Khwaja Ghar district in Takhar province, police spokesperson Abdul Khalid told Efe news agency.

The province is not a usual scene of insurgent activities.

Violence has been on the rise in Afghanistan since last year, when Afghan forces were handed back security tasks after the gradual withdrawal of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Forty two people died July 15 in one of the deadliest attacks in the last few years, carried out by a suicide bomber in a crowded market in the southeastern province of Paktika.

The Taliban disassociated themselves from that attack and the Afghan government accused the Haqqani Network, a Pakistani insurgent group which operates between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the first six months of this year, violence has claimed the lives of 1,564 civilians, 17 percent more than in 2013 over the same period, while the number of injured increased by 28 percent, to 3,289.

ISAF will conclude its mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, but Washington has announced that it will maintain around 9,800 troops in the country until its complete exit at the end of 2016.- IANS