KABUL (Reuters/AFP) – A suicide car bomber rammed a European Union vehicle near the main airport in Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday, killing at least three people in the latest attack in the city, officials said.
The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack on the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL), which advises Afghan law enforcement authorities. The insurgents have launched a wave of attacks around the country since the drawdown of most foreign troops last year to a small training force.EUPOL spokesman Sari Haukka-Konu confirmed that one of the mission’s vehicles was hit by an explosion near Kabul airport.
“All we can say at this moment is that two of EUPOL’s vehicles were there at the time of the attack. The one killed inside a vehicle was a foreigner who worked for EUPOL,” Mr Aziz Basam, a senior press officer with EUPOL, told AFP.
Police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi said a suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla rammed a foreign vehicle on the road from Kabul’s main airport to a Nato military installation nearby.
He said at least two Afghan civilian bystanders were killed and 18 people were wounded.The bomber struck about 200m from the main airport entrance along the road leading to Nato’s adjacent base. Reuters TV footage showed the mangled remains of the car.Rescuers carried wounded Afghan civilians from the scene, which police cordoned off.Shopkeeper Fraidon Khan said he witnessed the car slam into a convoy of foreigners. “I saw three dead bodies. One of them was a child and two were women,” he said.A spokesman for Nato’s Resolute Support mission said there was no early confirmation that a coalition vehicle had been hit and referred queries to the Afghan Ministry of Interior.
“It just happened, so we’re still tracking it,” said public affairs officer Armando B. Perez.
The bomber struck about 200 metres from the main airport entrance along the road leading to NATO’s adjacent base. Reuters TV footage showed the mangled remains of the car.Rescuers carried wounded Afghan civilians from the scene, which police cordoned off.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility saying that two vehicles were destroyed and seven foreign troops were killed. The insurgents frequently report inflated casualties in their attacks.The capital has seen a new surge in major attacks over the last two weeks after a relative lull since January.Last Wednesday night, gunmen attacked a popular guesthouse ahead of a musical concert and killed 14 people including nine foreign citizens.And twice in a week, suicide car-bombers targeted buses carrying employees of the Afghan attorney general’s offices, killing four people.The Taleban claimed all of the attacks.The insurgents seek to re-establish their hard-line Islamist regime more than 13 years after it was toppled in a U.S.-led military intervention for sheltering the al-Qaeda planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on American cities.The Taleban have been seeking to gain new ground since the drawdown of foreign forces last year to a training force of about 12,500.The Nato-trained Afghan police and army have struggled to prevent attacks and are engaged in a standoff with Taleban fighters on the outskirts of the northern city of Kunduz.