Afghanistan: Suicide attackers kill several people in Kabul

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A car bomb attack this morning, which targeted a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) convoy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, has killed or wounded dozens of people. The death toll was not confirmed, and estimates range from ten to twenty deaths. 47 people were injured in the attack.

The incident occurred at the Darulaman crossroads, near a US-Afghan military base and the parliament. Six NATO troops died in the attack alongside several civilians. The NATO said they had sealed off the region. The bomber had been driving a car filled with explosives, which they detonated at around 0815 local time [0415 GMT].

Iain Baxter, a spokesman for Isaf (International Security Assistance Force), stated: "An Isaf convoy was hit. At the moment we're trying to confirm the number of Isaf casualties." He could not confirm the number of Isaf personnel killed in the attack.

Zemarai Bashary, an Interior Ministry spokesperson, confirmed the attack, noting that "[t]here are a number of casualties, civilians killed and wounded." The death toll is unclear, and we're checking all the hospitals," he added.

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, said it was a "heartbreaking" attack. "We are condemning the attack in the strongest terms. I hope Afghanistan will soon get out of this suffering, God willing," he commented on national television.

General Ahmad Zia Yaftali, the chief military doctor of the Afghan army, claimed twenty people had been killed. "We have five bodies brought to our hospital so far [...] the number of the dead is more than 20," Yaftali told Agence France-Presse news agency.

Later, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a resident of Kabul, Nizamuddin, had been sent to "destroy five foreign vehicles and damage one more." "Today's attack was part of the Al Fatah operation and we will continue attacking foreigners and government security forces and their associates," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson said. The latter had 1,500 pounds of explosives in his Toyota van. NATO officials said five US military convoys were destroyed along with a further thirteen public vehicles. One of the vehicles to be destroyed was a bus filled with people.