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Grenade kills 2, injures more than 50 in Afghanistan

US soldiers gathered at the site of a blast yesterday in Asadabad in northeastern Afghanistan. US soldiers gathered at the site of a blast yesterday in Asadabad in northeastern Afghanistan. (Reuters)
Associated Press / June 10, 2009
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ASADABAD, Afghanistan - A Russian-made grenade exploded in a crowd milling around a US military vehicle crash in a busy town center in northeastern Afghanistan, killing two Afghans and wounding more than 50 people, including three US troops, officials said yesterday.

The US military and Afghanistan's Interior Ministry blamed the attack in the province of Kunar on insurgents and said officials had photographic evidence a Russian-made grenade left over from decades of war was used.

Nevertheless, many wounded Afghans angrily accused the Americans of using a grenade. While the allegation appears to have been discredited, it shows the difficult environment US forces face in trying to win over conservative Afghan tribes that live near the Pakistan border.

A US Army vehicle carrying American troops who help train Afghan soldiers crashed into a median in Kunar's capital of Asadabad, witnesses said.

One shopkeeper, Rohilla, who has a store near the crash, said five or six soldiers got out of their vehicles and tried to pull the truck out of the median with another vehicle.

"Many people gathered around, then there was a blast," said Rohilla, who like many Afghans goes by one name. "It is not clear if the Americans or somebody else threw the grenade."

Other witnesses blamed US forces. The Interior Ministry blamed insurgents.