Eastern Afghanistan site of latest violence

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a rising tide of violence in eastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber struck a crowded urban marketplace Thursday, killing at least nine people, and another blast rocked a provincial governor's compound, injuring the acting governor and several aides.

In the east's main city of Jalalabad, meanwhile, about 5,000 demonstrators shouted anti-American slogans while protesting the deaths of several children in an explosion Wednesday.

In a reflection of increasing anti-U.S. sentiment that accompanies civilian deaths or injuries caused by either side in the conflict, the protesters burned an effigy of President Obama and yelled "Death to America!"

Afghan authorities said the blast in the marketplace was caused by a land mine that went off when a police vehicle ran over it. NATO said the cause of the explosion, which also injured nine Western troops, was under investigation.

Eastern Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan's all-but-ungoverned tribal areas, has been the focus of an escalating confrontation between Western forces and insurgent groups that include the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. With increasing frequency, militants have targeted civilian and military targets alike in the region's population centers.

Thursday's most lethal explosion came in a marketplace in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. NATO's International Security Assistance Force reported the deaths of eight Afghan civilians and a senior security commander. Scores of other people were hurt.

In adjacent Khost province, the scene of last week's suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees and contractors, the governor's compound was hit by a bomb apparently planted in a trash pile just outside its perimeter wall. The acting governor, Tahir Khan Sabari, and half a dozen others, mainly aides, were holding a meeting in a conference room just on the other side of the wall when the device detonated.