Nine killed as bomb hits Nato convoy

December 28, 2013 - 5:36:22 am

Nato soldiers inspect a damaged military vehicle at the scene of a suicide bomb blast in Kabul yesterday.

KABUL: A Taliban suicide attacker detonated an explosives-packed car next to a Nato military convoy in Kabul yesterday, killing three Nato personnel and six civilian passers-by, officials said.

The blast in the Afghan capital left the twisted remains of the car spread across the scene along with other badly-damaged vehicles, including a Nato sports utility vehicle, witnesses said.

“Three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in Kabul, Afghanistan today,” the Nato mission said.

ISAF did not release the nationality of the dead, in line with coalition policy to leave identification to national authorities. The attack occurred on a main road in Pul-e-Charkhi area that passes by government compounds and ISAF military facilities in Kabul to the eastern city of Jalalabad.

“A car packed with explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber... as a result six civilians were also killed,” Afghan Khaama newspaper said.

Hashmatullah Stanekzai, spokesman for the Kabul security commandment, confirmed the casualties.

A  reporter said that ambulances, firefighters and armoured vehicles from the US-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan rushed to the blast site, which was quickly cordoned off by police.

“I was in my bakery shop when I heard a bang that shattered all the windows,” Nehmatullah, who uses only one name, said. “I saw at least two bodies lying on the street and covered in blood, then came two vehicles of foreign forces and the soldiers pulled out two bodies of foreigners from a damaged black SUV.”

ISAF and Afghan security forces removed damaged vehicles using trucks and transporters.

Among the injured being treated in a nearby hospital was a middle-aged Afghan man with wounds to his head and hands.

ISAF troops travel through Kabul in fast-moving and heavily protected convoys, but they have regularly been targeted by Taliban militants fighting a 12-year insurgency against the US-backed government.

“A martyrdom suicide attack took place in the 9th district of Kabul on a guest house of invading forces... a convoy of foreign forces was passing,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mijahid said in a statement, claiming responsibility.

“In the attack, three Americans soldiers were killed and many were wounded, and many of their vehicles were damaged.” The Taliban routinely exaggerate death tolls after attacks. In May, 15 people, including two US soldiers and four ISAF contractors, were killed in a similar car bomb that targeted a convoy in Kabul.

Yesterday’s suicide bombing came after the insurgents fired two rockets into the US embassy compound in central Kabul early on Christmas Day. No one was injured.  The militants have vowed to step up pressure on foreign forces and Afghan authorities before next year’s presidential election in April and the withdrawal of US-led Nato combat troops.

Kabul has seen a drop in attacks in recent months after high-profile strikes earlier in the year, with the intelligence agencies claiming to have foiled plots involving truck bombs and suicide blasts. The Supreme Court, the airport, foreign compounds and the presidential palace were targeted during 2013. Nato forces are withdrawing after more than a decade of fighting the Taliban, but negotiations have stalled on a security accord that would allow some US and Nato troops to stay after 2014..                            AFP

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