A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives killed at least 41 people at a busy market in southeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the deadliest attack in the war-torn country for months.
The huge blast in Urgun district of Paktika province came hours after a remotely controlled bomb targeted a presidential palace media staff bus in Kabul, killing two and wounding five.
The explosion at Urgun also destroyed dozens of cars and shops, Hamkimullah, a witness, told AFP.
"There is no room in the hospitals for the victims. People are treating the wounded people on the streets," he said.
The blasts highlight the fragile security situation Afghanistan faces as NATO progressively withdraws its 50,000 remaining combat troops, leaving local forces to battle a resilient Taliban insurgency.
Afghanistan is also in a delicate state politically, with the two rivals to succeed President Hamid Karzai only narrowly avoiding a crisis at the weekend over allegations of electoral fraud.
Karzai´s office said in a statement 41 people including six children and the imam of a mosque were killed and 67 wounded in Paktika.
There are fears the death toll could rise -- the spokesman for Paktika´s governor, Mokhlis Afghan, said 43 had died.
Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the explosives were placed in a truck and detonated after the police tried to stop the vehicle in the market. (AFP)