Deadly attacks near NATO base in Afghanistan

At least 12 killed, including four policemen, as Taliban claims responsibility for suicide bombing in Wardak province

Wardak province, Afghanistan

A twin suicide bombing near a US-led military base in central Afghanistan has killed at least 12 people, including four policemen, officials have said.

The first bombing was carried out by a fighter on foot, followed by a huge blast from a truck bomb that destroyed much of a local bazaar near the NATO base in Wardak province’s Sayedabad district, police said on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse in Kabul said that while the NATO base may have been the target, it was Afghans who were hit hardest. 

“It was Afghans that bore the brunt of the explosion, 12 Afghans were killed, dozens more wounded, and a local market place destroyed, Glasse said.

“The number of wounded is so high that it can hardly be counted. Lots of people have been wounded and much of the Sayedabad bazaar has been destroyed,” Wardak police spokesman Abdul Wali told AFP news agency.

Ghulam Farouq Mukhlis, the provincial public health director, told AFP that at least 43 civilians were admitted to local hospitals. Ten people were evacuated to the capital Kabul for “serious injuries”, Mukhlis added.

Confirming the twin blasts, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told AFP: “There were no ISAF fatalities.”

Shahidullah Shahid a spokesman for the provincial administration also confirmed the attack, describing the truck-bombing as “massive”.

“A suicide bomber on foot detonated near the gate of the base in Sayedabad, Wardak province, opening the way for a truck suicide bombing that followed him,” Shahiddullah Shahid, provincial government spokesman, said on Saturday.

Taliban claims responsibility

Witnesses at the scene said a small bazaar near the base had been “totally destroyed” by the huge explosion.

Afghan and Western troops blocked the road after the blasts for more than an hour, causing traffic jams along the busy highway, the witness, who refused to give his name, told AFP. “They were huge explosions, very big,” he said.

Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban fighters, claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message to AFP.

Sayedabad is a volatile region and the base there was attacked in a truck bombing in September last year. More than 80 people, about 50 of them US soldiers, were wounded in that attack.

According to the UN 1,145 civilians have been killed and 1,954 wounded in the Afghan war within just the first six months of this year.

They have blamed 80 per cent of the deaths on fighters opposed to the government allied to the West.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies