Kabul: A suicide car bomb attack
targeting NATO troops in the Afghan capital Tuesday killed more
than 20 civilians in one of the deadliest strikes in Kabul in
months, an army doctor said.
The bomber detonated in western Kabul during the
busy rush hour, close to an army recruitment centre and a
hospital, but the Afghan interior ministry said NATO`s
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was the target.
"We have five bodies brought to our hospital so
far... the number of the dead is more than 20, all civilians.
The death toll is very high," Afghan army chief doctor General
Ahmad Zia Yaftali said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for
the attack, but the Taliban militia has made suicide bombings
a signature of its nearly nine-year insurgency against the
Western-backed Afghan government and US-led troops.
The 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.
The Islamist militia is waging an increasingly
deadly insurgency and attacks have increased over the past 12
months in the heavily guarded capital.
"It was a suicide attack," interior ministry
spokesman Zemarai Bashary said, adding the target was ISAF
in the west of the city.
"There are a number of casualties, civilians killed
and wounded," he said. He did not have further details.
ISAF said it was unable to confirm whether there
were any NATO casualties in the attack, but said it was
assisting with the rescue operation.
Afghan television broadcast footage of the bomb
site, where US soldiers and Afghan police were seen inspecting
Last month, Afghan authorities announced the arrest
of nine would-be suicide bombers who were allegedly plotting
attacks on "strategic targets" in Kabul.
The men, aged between 16 and 55, were arrested
during a coordinated operation that included raids on at least
one madrassa, or religious school, in the capital, a spokesman
for the country`s spy agency said.
So far this year, 202 NATO soldiers have died,
marking the deadliest January to mid-May period in the Afghan
war, as the Taliban fight escalates and the West pours
thousands more troops into battle.