More to this story

A suicide car bomber has attacked a convoy of NATO troops in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, the country's interior ministry said.

Sunday's explosion caused civilian casualties, the ministry said without elaborating. NATO said three civilians were wounded in the blast, adding that there were no casualties among its troops.

The blast occurred at a busy time of the day at a central part of the city, Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reported from Kabul. 

"Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the Taliban were responsible for the attack in a text message that claimed all in the vehicles were killed," our correspondent said, adding that the Taliban often inflate casualty figures.

It is the Taliban's second attack in Kabul this week. 

The Taliban have stepped up attacks around Afghanistan since they launched their annual summer offensive in late April. The group overran the strategic northern city of Kunduz in late September in their most spectacular victory in 14 years.

The capture of the provincial capital for three days marked a stinging blow for Western-trained Afghan forces, who have largely been fighting on their own since the end of NATO's combat mission in December.

The government claims to have wrested back control of the city, but sporadic firefights continue with remnant pockets of fighters as Afghan soldiers, backed by NATO special forces, conduct clearance operations.

As fighting spreads in neighbouring Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces, concerns are mounting that the seizure of Kunduz was merely the opening gambit in a new, bolder strategy to tighten the Taliban's grip across northern Afghanistan.

Most NATO combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan last year, but a small contingent focused on training and counterterrorism operations remains, including roughly 10,000 American soldiers.

NATO forces are themselves under fire after a US air strike on October 3 pummelled a hospital in Kunduz run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), killing 12 staff and 10 patients.

The medical charity shut down the trauma centre, branding the incident a war crime and demanding an international investigation into the incident, which sparked an avalanche of global condemnation.

President Barack Obama has apologised over the strike, with three different investigations - led by NATO, US forces and Afghan officials - currently under way.

The Pentagon announced Saturday it would make compensation payments to those killed and injured in the strike.

NATO said three civilians were wounded in the blast, adding that there were no casualties among its troops (AP/Massoud Hossaini)

Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies