Suicide bomber wounds 4 civilians in Afghanistan

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KABUL (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated explosives as a police patrol passed by Thursday in southern Afghanistan, wounding at least four civilians, an official said.

A provincial spokesman said the attack occurred in Musa Qala, a town in the volatile Helmand province, which is expected to be a major focus for NATO forces as they step up efforts to rout the Taliban.

The bomber was on foot and missed his target but four civilians were wounded, Daoud Ahmadi said.

The U.N. says suicide bombings and other attacks were the main cause of civilian casualties last year in Afghanistan.

The attack came hours after four would-be suicide bombers were killed in a premature explosion elsewhere in the south.

The suspects were traveling from the Panjway district to Kandahar when the blast occurred about 8 p.m. Wednesday, deputy provincial police chief Fazel Ahmad Sharzad said.

He said the men were planning an attack in Kandahar but explosives in the car detonated before they reached the city. He didn’t say what the target may have been.