Two attacks kill 13 in southern Afghanistan

HELMAND - A suicide bomber and a remotely detonated mine killed 13 people including a security official on Wednesday in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, an area where NATO-led forces have claimed security improvements over the past year.
The insurgent bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body in a crowded market in Helmand's Kajaki district in the afternoon, killing seven civilians and two Afghan policemen and wounding eight more, said governor spokesman Daoud Ahmadi.
Hours later, a mine killed a district security official and three others people in Nad Ali district, police chief Marjan Akmal told Reuters, declining to go into detail.
Both attacks raise serious concerns about security in one of the country's most violent provinces, an area that saw fierce fighting during a surge of US troops over recent years.
So far nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which come weeks after an offer from the Taliban to open a political office in Qatar as a prelude to possible peace talks with the United States and other nations.