Suicide bomber targets foreign troops in Afghan capital Kabul, number of casualties unknown

Nato soldiers walk in front of a damaged military vehicle at the site of a suicide car bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Oct 11, 2015.
Nato soldiers walk in front of a damaged military vehicle at the site of a suicide car bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Oct 11, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL (Reuters/AFP) - A suicide car bomber targeted a convoy of foreign troops in the Afghan capital during rush hour-traffic on Sunday (Oct 11), an official said, flipping an armoured vehicle on its side, but the number of casualties was unknown.

Taleban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack in the city centre that broke a period of relative calm in Kabul after a series of bombings in August.

TV footage showed an armoured vehicle on its side as Afghan security forces cordoned off the street in the Joi Sheer neighbourhood.

"It was a suicide bombing against a foreign forces convoy in a crowded part of the city and there are casualties," said Mr Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

He did not specify whether there were casualties among the foreign forces.

The US-led Resolute Support military coalition in Kabul confirmed that one of its convoys was struck by a bomb.

"No casualties are reported at this time," said spokesman Colonel Brian Tribus.

The Taleban insurgents fighting to topple the foreign-backed Kabul government claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, saying it killed a number of foreign troops. The group typically inflates casualty figures they inflict on Afghan and coalition forces.

The powerful blast comes just days after the Taleban overran northern Kunduz city in their most spectacular victory in 14 years.

The Taleban have stepped up attacks on government and foreign targets since they launched their annual summer offensive in late April.

The insurgents' recent seizure of Kunduz city marked a blow for Afghan forces, who have largely been fighting on their own since the end of Nato's combat mission in December.

As fighting spreads in neighbouring Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces, concerns are mounting that the seizure of Kunduz was merely the opening gambit in a new, bolder strategy to tighten the insurgency's grip across northern Afghanistan.

Most Nato combat troops pulled out of Afghanistan last year but a small contingent focused on training and counter-terrorism operations remains, including roughly 10,000 American soldiers.