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Central & South Asia
Kabul blast targets foreigners
Taliban claim responsibility for attack, which has killed nine people, including one child, and wounded six others.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2011 14:06 GMT
Taliban have said they were targeting foreigners including the head of a security company in Friday's attack [AFP]

At least nine people have been killed in a suicide attack at a supermarket popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital Kabul, the first major attack by the Taliban on civilians in Kabul in nearly a year.

Three foreign women were among the dead, and six people were wounded, Ayub Salangi, the Kabul police chief, said. A child was also among the dead from Friday's bombing, which shattered a sense of relative calm that had settled over the capital after nearly a year without an attack targeting foreign or Afghan civilians.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday's blast and said they were targeting foreigners including the head of a security company.

Police carried bodies from the blackened hull of the "Finest" supermarket, several hundred metres from the British embassy, as fires broke out among shattered shelves and scattered food. The wounded were led away wailing.

Targeted killings

"We claim responsibility for the attack, and it was carried out at a time when foreigners were shopping, including the head of a security company," Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said.

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He did not say which firm was targeted and it was not immediately clear if security firm employees were among the dead.

A senior police source told the Reuters news agency that officers at the scene had concluded from preliminary evidence that it was a suicide attack.

It was the first major attack on civilians in Kabul since two suicide bombers detonated explosives near the city's biggest shopping centre and a hotel last February, killing at least 14.

However, there have been several attacks on both foreign and Afghan security forces since then.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst level since the overthrow of the Taliban by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001 with record casualties on all sides of the conflict and a raging uprising that has shown little sign of abating.

A "ring of steel" erected around the capital before parliament elections last September has done little to prevent attacks.

Source:
Agencies
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