Taliban suicide bomber kills American

Man with grenades strapped to his body kills himself, an American and wounds 7 in Kabul shopping district.

A man with six grenades strapped to his body killed himself and an American woman on a busy street in Kabul Saturday, police said.

Several were wounded in the attack, including three NATO soldiers.

It happened outside a carpet shop on Chicken Street, a popular shopping district in the heart of the Afghan capital.

The U.S. woman, Jamie Michalsky, 23, a translator, had travelled to Kabul from Uzbekistan to shop, said her stepfather.

Also wounded in the attack were a young Afghan girl who often begged there, and the 13-year-old son of a shopkeeper, reports Associated Press.

Gen. Baba Jan, Kabul's chief of police, said three of the grenades went off. Police defused the others while the man's body lay twisted on the sidewalk, amid discarded shoes and broken glass.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and promised more would be carried out around the country.

A Taliban spokesman said the attack was meant to send a message that the recent Afghan elections can't stop the group's ongoing "holy war."

The attack came as the vote count from the Oct. 9 presidential election surpassed 80 per cent.

Afghanistan's incumbent president, Hamid Karzai remains on course to win the election, but the tally shows Karzai's rivals have whittling down his lead to possibly force a run-off.

Karzai needs 51 per cent of the ballot to avoid a run-off against the second place candidate.

Early returns showed him with a healthy 60 percent or more lead. But that's been clawed back to 54 per cent.