Afghanistan: 19 die, mostly children, in blast

A suicide bomber targeted a NATO patrol in a crowded marketplace filled with schoolchildren Tuesday, killing 19 people, including 13 elementary students - an attack the UN and NATO quickly criticized for harming so many civilians. The bombing - one of the deadliest of the year - injured at least 35 Afghans and eight Dutch soldiers patrolling on foot, whom the bomber apparently had targeted. Both the United Nations and NATO criticized the Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack, over the civilian deaths - an issue the US and NATO have taken heat for this year because of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent Afghans killed by Western military action. The governor of northeast Kunar province, Shelzai Dedar, meanwhile, said a government investigation found NATO military action in Kunar last week killed 27 civilians along with 37 militants. NATO has said it had no evidence of civilian casualties from the battle.