A Taliban suicide bomber has detonated a car next to a NATO military convoy in Kabul, killing three NATO personnel and injuring six civilian passers-by, officials said.
Friday’s blast site was littered with remains of the attacker’s car along with other badly-damaged vehicles, witnesses said, on a main road that passes near to a series of government compounds and US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military facilities in Kabul on the way to the eastern city of Jalalabad.
“Three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in Kabul, Afghanistan today,” a statement from the NATO mission said.
ISAF did not release the nationality of the dead, in line with coalition policy to leave identification to national authorities.
“A car packed with explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber… as a result six of our civilian countrymen were injured,” the ministry of interior said in a statement.
Ambulances, firefighters and armoured vehicles from the ISAF mission rushed to the blast site, which was quickly cordoned off by police.
“I was in my bakery shop when I heard a bang that shattered all the windows,” Nehmatullah, who uses only one name, told AFP news agency.
“I saw at least two bodies lying on the street and covered in blood, then came two vehicles of foreign forces and the soldiers pulled out two bodies of foreigners from a damaged black SUV.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Friday attack in a message on its Twitter account.
“A number of foreign forces were killed and wounded and many vehicles were also destroyed,” the Taliban spokesman said.
The attack came as Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai deliberated over an agreement, allowing US forces to stay in the country beyond 2014.
Many Afghans, including advisers and a gathering of 3,000 prominent Afghans, have urged Karzai to sign the pact as they worry about security after 2014 when most foreign forces are leaving.
Karzai said he did not want to sign until after a presidential election scheduled for April next year.