ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

Suicide blast hits US forces in Kabul, one soldier, four civilians killed

KABUL, Saturday (AFP) - A suicide car bomb struck US forces on the road to Kabul airport today, killing one soldier with the US-led coalition and four Afghan civilians, witnesses and officials said. A senior Afghan security official told AFP on condition of anonymity that three foreigners were killed and two wounded, and four Afghan civilians killed and six wounded. The figures were not confirmed by other officials.

An Afghan witness said he had seen at least one US soldier dead along with three Afghans. The US military said a two-vehicle convoy had been struck by an explosion but only one soldier was injured. The separate NATO-led force said it was aware of an incident but did not immediately have details.

The blast, similar to a string of attacks by the extremist Taliban movement, set several vehicles on fire and plumes of thick, black smoke spewed into the air. Wreckage was strewn across a wide area. Afghan television showed pictures of a body in military uniform lying on the ground. An AFP reporter at the scene saw a US soldier being treated for injuries.

“There was a suicide bombing in a car. The attack was on American forces,” interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP. There were several dead and wounded, he said, without being able to give details. Health Minister Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatemi said one Afghan civilian died in hospital from severe wounds and eight others were hospitalised.

But witnesses said several people were killed at the scene, about 500 metres (yards) from the airport. “The two foreign vehicles were driving towards the airport,” said tailor Mohammad Fahim. “I didn't see the bombers' vehicle but I saw the explosion. One of the two vehicles flipped onto its side, hitting two civilian vehicles.”

He said he saw a dead body taken from each of the civilian vehicles. “I saw another guy dead, he had been passing by on a bicycle. I saw two foreigners -- one was definitely dead. The other was lying down on the ground.” Kabul has been struck by a series of Taliban suicide attacks this year.

The last was on Tuesday and killed 13 people including a mother and her two children going to school. The blast destroyed a police bus. Four days earlier a similar blast destroyed a military bus, killing 30 people in one of the deadliest attacks in an insurgency being waged by the extremist Taliban movement.

The Taliban was driven from government in a US-led invasion that started exactly six years ago and was launched when their group did not surrender its allies in al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. A June suicide attack on a police bus in the heart of the city killed 35 people. It was the bloodiest attack since the al-Qaeda-linked Taliban regrouped and began their fight.

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