KABUL: A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Nato base in Kabul’s heavily-fortified diplomatic district yesterday, killing two Afghan security guards and wounding two government officials, police said.
The Taliban, leading an insurgency against US-led troops and the Afghan government, claimed responsibility and said the target was a CIA office.
“One suicide attacker and two security guards were killed in the attack and one security guard was injured,” Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said, dismissing reports that a second bomber was involved.
“Two members of the defence ministry who were inside their car parked at the site of the attack have also been wounded.”
Salangi said the bomber, who was wearing a security guard’s uniform and was carrying an automatic rifle and grenades, came under fire but managed to detonate his explosives.
Shrapnel hit a passing vehicle of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force but no personnel were injured, a spokesman said. “All ISAF bases in the green zone are secure,” he added.
The blast was heard across the capital’s diplomatic district, prompting the US embassy to sound its “duck and cover” alarm.
An AFP photographer saw three bodies, including that of the bomber, near Camp Eggers, a major Nato military base in the zone.
The target remained unclear but the police chief said the bomber was trying to enter a tall building under construction. Insurgents have used similar sites in the past from which to launch grenade and machinegun fire on nearby targets.
The Taliban said in a text message that “a large number of fedayeen (suicide bombers) armed with light and heavy weapons attacked an important office of the CIA in the centre of Kabul and the fighting is continuing”.
The Islamists regularly exaggerate claims in their insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai, which is backed by more than 100,000 Nato troops.
The attack came amid increased security in Kabul before the Shiite holy day of Ashura on Saturday. Last year a suicide attacker killed 80 people attending Ashura day ceremonies at a shrine in the capital.