[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Deadly suicide blast hits Kabul
Taliban claims responsibility after car bombing kills Nato troops and Afghan civilians.
Last Modified: 18 May 2010 11:11 GMT
The attack in Kabul on Tuesday left at least 47 people wounded in addition to the 18 fatalities [AFP]

At least 18 people have been killed, including eight Afghan civilians and six Nato troops, in a suicide car-bomb attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul, police say.

Tuesday's attack targeted a Nato convoy close to an army-recruitment centre, the parliament and other government buildings in Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, one of the deadliest attacks in Kabul in months.

The Nato alliance did not give details on the nationalities of the dead.

The suicide bomber is reported to have been driving a car laden with explosives.

Suicide attack

Zemarai Bashary, the interior ministry spokesman, confirmed it was a suicide attack and that the target was the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).
  
"There are a number of casualties, civilians killed and wounded," he said.

Lieutenant-Commander Iain Baxter, an Isaf spokesman, said: "An Isaf convoy was hit. At the moment we're trying to confirm the number of Isaf casualties.

"We're still confirming how many Isaf casualties have been caused."

Bashary said at least 12 civilians were killed and 47 others wounded, most of whom had been travelling in a bus that passed when the suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives.

In depth

  Inside Story: Is 'Afghanistan' possible?
  Operation Moshtarak at a glance
  Video: Interview with US commander in Helmand
  Video: Taliban payout could be unpopular
  Video: Taliban fighter says Nato losing Afghan support
  Focus: Making room for the Taliban
  Focus: To win over Afghans, US must listen
  Timeline: Afghanistan in crisis

Children and women were among the dead and wounded, he said.

Police cordoned off the road near Darulaman palace, a derelict building that once housed Afghanistan's royal family.

Afghan television broadcast footage of the bomb site, where US soldiers and Afghan police were seen inspecting a minivan.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Kabul, said: "Kabul has been largely spared this continuous low-level violence that plagues the rest of the country. The last time there was a large explosion here in the capitalwas about two months ago."

Tuesday's bombing was the first major attack in Kabul since February 26 when Taliban suicide bombers targeted guesthouses, killing 16 people including Westerners and Indians in one the deadliest attacks on foreigners.

An increasingly resurgent Taliban has announced a spring offensive in May against government officials and foreign diplomats and troops.

So far this year, 202 Nato soldiers have died, marking the deadliest January to mid-May period in the Afghan war.
 
From January to end-May 2009, 119 Nato soldiers died in Afghanistan. Overall, 520 Nato troops died in 2009, the deadliest year so far for US-led foreign troops since the 2001 US-led invasion brought down the Taliban regime.
  
Since summer 2009, one or two Nato soldiers have died on average each day.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.